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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      A sign that we are living in the last days is the fact that love is cooling off. Sadly, the pressures and demands of this cold world has effected many marriages. Close relationships that are full of love and warmth, can easily become cold and distant . This situation can be likened to a large mountain with each mate standing on the opposite side. How can a couple draw close again in this situation? They have to climb towards the top.  In a spiritual sense, mates that have allowed some mountain to come between them have to “climb” toward Jehovah. They can do this by reading the Bible, praying and doing family worship together. When a couple puts forth  the effort to draw closer to Jehovah, they will also draw closer to one another. It can be challenging, painful and exhausting, but those who put forth the effort will have a stronger marriage as a result. (Ecc 4:9-12) Indeed, drawing closer to God is the key to drawing closer to your spouse.

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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Since the Society does NOT recognize Civil Divorces if there is no adultery, and considers a couple to STILL BE MARRIED ... if a man and wife get divorced civilly ONLY ( perhaps for some economic reason, like bankruptcy, or estate management .... or they cannot stand each other more than a few hours a week .. (health reasons (?)) ... and they still shack up (friends, with benefits..) does the Society sanction these ones in any way?
      ( For those in Rio Linda ... "friends with benefits" means friends that have sex ...) ....
       
    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Being widowed, divorced or never married increases the risk of heart disease.
      Being married may reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular death, a review of studies has found.
      Researchers pooled data on more than two million participants in 34 studies carried out in the United States, Britain, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Greece and eight other countries.
      They found that compared with married people, those who were unmarried — whether never married, widowed or divorced — were 42 percent more likely to have some form of cardiovascular disease and 16 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease. The unmarried also had a 43 percent increased likelihood of coronary heart disease death and a 55 percent increased risk for death from stroke. Stroke risk was increased for the unmarried and divorced, but not for the widowed.
      Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/29/well/marriage-heart-married-divorced-single.html?rref=collection/sectioncollection/well
    • By The Librarian
      Armstrong Ted - Humility.mp3
      Agape!
      @The Librarian
    • By Srecko Sostar
      This is real controversy. But just one among many that came from Watchtower GB spiritual food table. JW living in "spiritual paradise" under rules like this one. :(( 
      Questions from readers - WT magazine January 1 1972
      Do homosexual acts on the part of a married
      person constitute a Scriptural ground for
      divorce, freeing the innocent mate to remarry?
      —U.S.A.
      Homosexuality is definitely condemned in the Bible as something that will prevent individuals from gaining God’s approval. (1 Cor. 6:9, 10)
      However, whether an innocent mate would Scripturally be able to remarry after procuring a legal divorce from a mate guilty of homosexual
      acts must be determined on the basis of what the Bible says respecting divorce and remarriage.
      In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ said: “Everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a subject for
      adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Matt. 5:32) On a later occasion he told the Pharisees: “Whoever divorces
      his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery." —Matt. 19:9.
      Thus “fornication" is seen to be the only ground for divorce that frees the innocent mate to remarry. The Greek word for fornication is porneia.
      It can refer to illicit sexual relations between either married or unmarried persons. The ancient Greeks, in rare instances, may have understood
      this term to denote acts other than illicit sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. But the sense in which Jesus used the word porneia at Matthew 5:32 and 19:9
      must be ascertained from the context.
      It should be noted that in Matthew chapters 5 and 19 “fornication" is used in the restricted sense of marital unfaithfulness, or illicit relations with another person not one’s marriage mate. Just before bringing up the matter of divorce in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ pointed out that “everyone [married] that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28)
      Consequently, when he afterward alluded to a woman’s committing fornication, his listeners would have understood this in its relative sense, namely, as signifying a married woman’s prostitution or adultery.
      The context of Matthew chapter 19 confirms this conclusion. On the basis of the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus pointed out that a man and his wife became “one flesh,” and then added: “What God has yoked together let no man put apart.” (Matt. 19:5, 6) Now, in homosexual acts the sex organs are used in an unnatural way, in a way for which they were never purposed. Two persons of the same sex are not complements of each other, as Adam and Eve were. They could never become “one flesh”־ in order to procreate. It might be added, in the case of human copulation with a beast, two different kinds of flesh are involved.
      Wrote the apostle Paul: “Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, and there is another flesh of cattle, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.1— ״ Cor. 15:39. While both homosexuality and bestiality are disgusting perversions, in the case of neither one is the marriage tie broken. It is broken only by acts that make an individual “one flesh” with a person of the opposite sex other than his or her legal marriage mate.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      HereÂ’s what they are:
      1. Be together for the right reasons
      DonÂ’t ever be with someone because someone else pressured you to. I got married the first time because I was raised Catholic and thatÂ’s what you were supposed to do. Wrong. I got married the second time because I was miserable and lonely and thought having a loving wife would fix everything for me. Also wrong. Took me three tries to figure out what should have been obvious from the beginning, the only reason you should ever be with the person youÂ’re with is because you simply love being around them. It really is that simple.
      – Greg
      Before we even get into what you should do in your relationship, letÂ’s start with what not to do.
      When I sent out my request to readers for advice, I added a caveat that turned out to be illuminating. I asked people who were on their second or third (or fourth) marriages what they did wrong. Where did they mess up?
      By far, the most common answer was “being with the person for the wrong reasons.”
      Some of these wrong reasons included:
      Pressure from friends and family Feeling like a “loser” because they were single and settling for the first person that came along Being together for image—because the relationship looked good on paper (or in photos), not because the two people actually admired each other Being young and naive and hopelessly in love and thinking that love would solve everything As we’ll see throughout the rest of this article, everything that makes a relationship “work” (and by work, I mean that it is happy and sustainable for both people involved) requires a genuine, deep-level admiration for each other. Without that mutual admiration, everything else will unravel.
      The other “wrong” reason to enter into a relationship is, like Greg said, to “fix” yourself. This desire to use the love of someone else to soothe your own emotional problems inevitably leads to codependence, an unhealthy and damaging dynamic between two people where they tacitly agree to use each other’s love as a distraction from their own self-loathing. We’ll get more into codependence later in this article, but for now, it’s useful to point out that love, itself, is neutral. It is something that can be both healthy or unhealthy, helpful or harmful, depending on why and how you love someone else and are loved by someone else. By itself, love is never enough to sustain a relationship.
      Read more: https://qz.com/884448/every-successful-relationship-is-successful-for-the-same-exact-reasons/
    • Guest Nicole
    • By Bible Speaks
      "There exists the one speaking thoughtlessly as with the stabs of a sword, but the tongue of the wise ones is a healing."—Prov. 12:18. 2015/8/19
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (Eph 5:21-30) An aerialist catapults from his swinging trapeze and folds into a human ball as he somersaults through the air. He snaps out of the spin and extends his arms toward his partner, confident she will be there to catch him. However, his partner is mad at him and unwilling to support him. She refuses to play her role in this very important part of the act. The result is a failed performance, a shocked audience and an injured aerialist. This illustrates the effort required from both husband and wife in a marriage. It takes two to make the marriage a success. However, if one mate refuses to play their God given role as set out in the Bible, the result can be disastrous. We should never let petty differences, or disagreements keep us from doing what God requires of us as a husband or as a wife. This becomes even more important when there is an audience, such as kids, in the home. The way the mother treats the father or vise versa can have a huge effect on them. It could even influence what type of husband or wife they will be in the future. If each member applies the counsel found in the Bible and works together, the "show" can be a success.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      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
      Friday's parliamentary vote in Berlin to recognize the right of same-sex couples to wed was a long-awaited victory for German liberals. But the vote was a defeat for the woman who seemed to have emerged as one of the country's most popular icons of liberalism: German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
      She welcomed over 1 million refugees, abandoned nuclear energy over safety fears and has urged President Trump to respect human rights.
      On Friday, however, Merkel voted against same-sex marriage, despite having paved the way to its recognition only days earlier.
      The anti-marriage-equality party line of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had long prevented the law from being passed. But on Monday, the German chancellor cleared the way for the issue to win approval in the German Parliament by allowing lawmakers to choose according to their personal convictions after being pressured into a vote by the Social Democratic Party. “I would like to steer the discussion more toward the situation that it will be a question of conscience instead of me forcing something through by means of a majority vote,” Merkel said earlier this week.
      Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/06/30/why-angela-merkel-known-for-embracing-liberal-values-voted-against-same-sex-marriage/?utm_term=.b6ce6745071c
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Jehovah's Witness was attacked by her husband who feared she was going to cancel Christmas, a court has heard.
      Jason Mortimore struck his wife Rachael in the face three times with a magazine before burning her Bible and other religious documents in a garden incinerator.
      Mortimore, 46, admitted racially aggravated assault and criminal damage at Exeter magistrates court yesterday (TUES). He was fined a total of £666 but the court did not impose a restraining order on him.
      The court heard that the couple had been married for 12 years and have three children. 
      In November Mortimore saw that his wife, who "has returned to her faith of Jehovah Witness", had thrown away some Christmas brochures and he assumed she was not going to celebrate the festivities.
      Before she could explain he hit her with a magazine around the face, prosecutor Warjinder Sadeghi said.
      A few days later they had a row and she woke up to find him burning her Bible and other religious documents in a garden incinerator.
      Mortimore also dumped other religious leaflets in their recycling bin.
      He denied the offences in police interview but said their relationship was under strain and he did not want their children to be influenced by her religion.
      Peter Seigne, defending, said his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      How long should a couple date before marriage?
    • By Fmadriaga
      "Humility"
      When a person is "known rich" or "looks rich" and buys a decent mode of transportation - many views that person as humble but when a person is "viewed poor" or "looks poor" and drives the same decent mode of transportation - many views that person as arrogant.
      This is not about wealth, but the perspective. Might there be a difference between the definition of humility vs personal view of what "suits" an individual?
      In some countries, may locals view the minorities as "minorities"(incl. migrants from "poor" countries) and when these "minorities act" not as what they want to view them - many say that they "lack humility".
      Many fell on the same trap back in the first century, many expected the messiah to be someone prominent, handsome like David and maybe very tall also like Saul but the scripture indicated otherwise. - for "No stately form does he have, nor any splendor; And when we see him, his appearance does not draw us to him. " (Isa 53:2) ft:" Or “there is no special appearance that we should desire him.” "and yet, he is a known carpenter and declaring that he is God's Son - " do you say to me whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? " (John 10:36)
      Now, we view Jesus to be humble because we know his position before he took a human form (Phil 2:7). But just imagine living in the time of Jesus - those Pharisees and Sadducees views him otherwise. (John 10:36)
      Something to think about... (Lu 6:38; Phil 2:3)

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Harry P. Ryan and Kathelene R. (Everly) Ryan recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a celebration sponsored by family and friends held at Running Deer Golf Club in Pittsgrove. They were married on Feb. 11, 1967 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Millville.
      The couple have two sons, Bruce Ryan, married to Candace Comegys Ryan, and Neill Ryan, married to Deanne Pierce Ryan. They also have four grandchildren, Sydney Ryan, Sabrina Ryan, Tre’ Smith and Evan Smith.

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    • By Bible Speaks
      "I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart." (Matt. 11:29)

      “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12)
      jw.org

    • By Bible Speaks
      "I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart." (Matt. 11:29)

      “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12)
      jw.org

    • By Bible Speaks
      Lesson for today  (Phil 2:3)  
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. "Do nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with humility consider others superior to you."
      PEOPLE today take great pride in personal accomplishments, and they are often quick to boast about them. Christians are different. They refrain from overemphasizing their own accomplishments, even those having to do with true worship. While they rejoice over what Jehovah’s people accomplish as a whole, they keep their individual contribution in the background.
      They realize that in Jehovah’s service, right motives are more important than personal accomplishments.
      Anyone who is eventually given the gift of eternal life will have gained it, not by personal accomplishments, but through faith and by God’s undeserved kindness. This may be a challenge, especially if we happen to be in a position of responsibility.
      Perhaps the difficulty arises because we have been influenced, to a certain extent, by the spirit of competition so prevalent in the world today.
      Possibly, as children we were taught to compete, either with our siblings at home or with our classmates at school.
      We were perhaps constantly urged to reach out for the honor of being the school’s star athlete or its top student. Of course, giving our best in any proper undertaking is commendable.
      However, Christians do so, not to call undue attention to themselves, but to benefit fully from the activity and perhaps to benefit others as well.
      However, aspiring always to be praised as number one can be dangerous.  
      Yes, we can draw comfort and encouragement from knowing that we can be saved, not by works alone, but by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness!  
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
    • By Bible Speaks
      "This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."
      (Gen. 2:23)

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Your marriage status may be a good predictor of whether you survive a stroke.
      Many studies have shown that married people are generally better off financially than those who are single. They also tend to have more friends and social support, and engage in fewer unhealthy behaviors than the unmarried. But even after controlling for these and other factors, researchers found that being married by itself increases the probability of survival after a stroke.
      The analysis, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, included a nationally representative sample of 2,351 men and women who had had a stroke and were discharged from the hospital. During the study period, from 1992 to 2010, 1,362 of them later died.
      The researchers found that compared to the continuously married, the never married had a 34 percent higher risk of death. People who had had multiple divorces were at a 50 percent higher risk, and those widowed multiple times had a 25 percent higher risk. Being divorced or widowed only once, though, did not increase the risk.
      The lead author, Matthew E. Dupre, a sociologist at Duke University, said that the study confirmed other research showing “how our social relationships can have immediate and lasting consequences for our health.”

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (CNN)Together for 74 years, even death couldn't keep Leonard Cherry and his wife Hazel apart.
      The Cherrys were high school sweethearts, married in January 1942 in Muldoon, Texas. Last week they died, just a few hours apart. Their only grandson, Craig Cherry, said their love was the strongest love that he had ever seen.
      "The two were always smiling and always deeply in love," Cherry told CNN affiliate KWTX.
      Although family members are mourning their loss, the couple's 72-year-old son, David Cherry, is grateful that his mother and father can be together forever.
      "I feel blessed that Daddy's suffering is over, and I feel blessed that Mom is with him and that she didn't have to live alone."
      Leonard Cherry, 95, had been in hospice care only days before his death at the St. Catherine Center in Waco, while Hazel Cherry, 93, who was in good health, moved into The Village at Providence Park, a nursing home, just next door.
      "Mother had been driving around town and still going to the grocery store as recently as two weeks ago, but Dad's health had been failing for some years," David Cherry told the affiliate.
      Leonard Cherry died at 1 p.m. on Thursday. His wife passed at 11 p.m. It was not immediately clear what caused her death.
      David Cherry said his parents would be missed.
      "It's kind of hard you know, you can't pick up the phone and call them anymore, or call mother and can't go by and see Dad," he said. "The more I began to think about it, I began to smile because of how much they loved each other."
      Leonard Cherry became a B-24 bomber pilot after enlisting in the Army Air Corps at the start of World War II. Stationed at Carswell Army Air Corps Base in Fort Worth, he trained others to fly the plane.
      Once the war was over, Leonard stayed in Fort Worth and went to work as an auto body repair man. He later owned his own auto repair business that he and his wife operated until 1980, but the couple of almost 40 years wanted to be closer to their grandchild and son.
      Leonard sold his auto repair business and the couple moved to Woodway to spend the rest of their lives together.
      A memorial service is scheduled for the two Friday.
      http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/02/health/couple-dies-same-day-trnd/index.html
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      You hear it again and again: "After I got married, I stopped having time for myself." Cooperation is a healthy part of a relationship. The trick is to grow together, and as the old saying goes, to "row in the same direction."
      Growing in a long-term relationship or marriage takes skill. Marriages that stagnate become ripe for problems. So how do you grow in your marriage? Just like the flowers and trees, all relationships need water and sunlight, a little tending to pull up the weeds and a little talk to encourage them.
      1. Be present.
      Being present can mean staying off your smartphone during mealtimes or whenever you're together. It requires truly listening to what your partner is saying. It means actually focusing on the person in the room rather than thinking about the four other places you could be. When you are present with your spouse, they're made to feel important, validated, and treasured. Again, this pays dividends.
      2. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
      If your spouse takes an interest in something that doesn't immediately include you, don't react with suspicion or anger. If they suggest that going off and doing it will make them a better spouse, they might be right. So long as their new interest doesn't risk anyone's physical or emotional well-being, it would be wise to believe in them rather than ripping their idea to shreds. Giving them the benefit of the doubt. Support pays huge dividends.
      3. Praise. Don't punish.
      We're all going to fail sometimes. And who's the first person we talk to when we're disappointed or scared? If your other half has experienced a setback or disappointment, it's not productive to berate or find fault. Find something—anything—positive that you can say about their effort. Now, I'm not suggesting that you lie. Be authentic. A little praise at the right time goes a long way.
      4. Be affectionate.
      Our spouses need gentle words, that same touch. How much? Well, that's up to you. Sometimes one member of a relationship puts a heavier emphasis on affection than the other. Sometimes, we're just feeling a little needy. A simple hand on the shoulder, rub of the arm, a kiss on the cheek, or quick shoulder rub shows that you care.
      5. Communicate.
      Marriage can become routine. Partners assume the other can read their mind. As a professional psychotherapist, I always tell my clients not to assume. Being able to regularly share thoughts, ideas, and feelings is critical. We lead busy lives, so a frequent excuse for not communicating even the basic events of our day is "I just don't have time."
      Well, everyone is busy. Your spouse is busy. But if you want them to stay your spouse, open your mouth and tell them what's going on. Ask how their day was. The few minutes it takes to "check in" and ask how your spouse is doing says "I value you and what you're doing. You're not alone." This sharing of ideas and experiences is crucial.
      6. Find an activity.
      The happiest couples share common activities. Identify what you both derive pleasure from. Maybe you haven't done it lately. Brainstorm up a little excursion. Plan a getaway. Maintaining routine is important, but taking time out to enjoy being with each other in an activity that isn't doing errands is a way to spread growth.
      All of these ideas can help lead to positive growth in your relationship. Every good relationship is planted in fertile ground; when things become too routine, it's as if that dirt has been stripped of all the important minerals and nutrients. Whatever gets planted in there won't be as strong as it can be.
      But when we revitalize that soil and replenish the nutrients, what comes back will be twice as strong as before.
      By Dr. Janna Fond/MBG
       
      http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27176/6-ways-to-breathe-new-life-into-your-marriage.html?utm_source=mbg&utm_medium=email&utm_content=daily-b-template&utm_campaign=161022
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      It’s been close to 3 years since I separated and later on, divorced from my husband.
      We were only officially married for 1 year and half but unofficially together for 7 years. He was my best friend. I looked up to him and secretly felt I could not keep up to his ability to be successful.
      Three years ago, l lost sight of everything meaningful in my life, and spiraled into self- sabotage and rebellion. When we broke up, I took it upon myself to change as a person, because I thought that was partly the reason my marriage had deteriorated. What I came to realize is it was the marriage with myself that I never allowed to heal properly. Before we can love someone wholeheartedly, we need to love and accept ourselves first.
      Year one taught me survival through various avenues of meditations, traveling, one-on-one coaching, researching topics of interest (self-help), and continuous self-introspective writing. Year two opened the doors towards discovering who I am, my true self and layers of my mind that contributed to my years of “unconscious” living (along with the help of therapy.) Year three helped me accept that I am already in the place I need to be and learning to accept myself as I am as well as being more compassionate with myself. It is also more of a “free” year, where I am living day by day and just being with myself not doing anything in particular as previous years – I am actively watching myself “just being me.” (As weird as that sounds!) I am very clear about the mistakes I made back then.
      Marriage is when two imperfect souls can accept each other just as they are and grow as persons and as a unit simultaneously. Marriage is compromise, love, empathy, understanding, strength, vulnerability and maturity amongst the obstacles and difficulties thrown at us by the universe.
      Divorce is just another new beginning to look at yourself and reflect on what went wrong.
      It’s an opportunity to learn about yourself and to appreciate your previous partner as another teacher in your life (once you move past the anger phase, because you do experience it – and it’s totally normal!)
      I learned more about me, then I did after any other difficult time period of my life.
      It was hard for me in the first few months, as I am a sensitive individual. Time went so slow, my loved ones spent hours calling me, inviting me over for dinner, and sharing countless words of wisdom. I felt I was experiencing an outer body experience.
      Surprisingly, work became more interesting because I drowned myself to avoid feeling pain. I often woke up earlier and fell asleep earlier than usual. I started experiencing anxiety attacks and I started praying frequently again. This only reaffirmed my desire to create change for myself. I am eternally grateful for the spiritual coach who guided me during this time and opened up doorways for my self-improvement (my healing).
      Here are my tips to work on healing from your heartache while improving yourself and loving yourself:
      1. Don’t lock yourself up indoors.
      When we feel down, we feel lifeless, we are walking zombies and we do not want to get out of bed. My godfather told me, “When you feel sad: get up, grab your purse, open the door, and hear it slam. Then, come straight over to our house. No matter how many times. Get up and get out.” You have no idea, how much I have listened to this. Once you are out, you won’t suddenly feel thrilled but after 2hours of engaging with others, laughing or in-depth conversations of moral support, you will feel better.
      2. Set intentions and be compassionate with yourself.
      If you have no other options, because we tend to close up, then set an intention to be compassionate with yourself. For example, I have very few intimate friends, so I did often stay at home, in bed with the lights off. But, I knew I couldn’t stay there forever. I set a realistic intention to give myself a minimum of 3 days at home. Day 3 came and I would get up to go out or do an activity such as writing, visiting loved ones, going for a walk or seeing a movie.
      3. Allow yourself to feel.
      Do not avoid it. If you need to talk to someone (you trust) for hours to get things off your chest, do so. We are creatures of service; another person will listen to you and help you feel relaxed. If you don’t have someone, I recommend writing down every thought going through your mind. If you suddenly feel the need to cry or laugh, don’t hold it back. Feel it, watch it, and release it – whatever feeling it is, will go away on its own. Don’t avoid thinking or feeling by working overtime or going out every chance you get as an escape. In the long run, this will bring more harm because pain gets buried and will resurface when a new relationship or situation comes around.
      4. Get help from a professional outsider: a coach or therapist.
      I met a wonderful life coach through a mutual friend. She guided me in every session, hearing me out, giving exercises, written homework assignments and insight. Sometimes we need another’s eye and expertise to comprehend what we are going through and provide you tools to move forward. There were so many topics and tools I would have never thought of without her. She opened my mind to study myself and be understanding that this new life experience would allow me to reach my goals of healing, true love and self-acceptance.
      5. Take a seminar or a class.
      When you find yourself as a student again engaging in adding skills to yourself professionally and/or as a hobby – you are left with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, giddiness and success. It will make you feel so much better and you will begin to notice you forget about your sadness because you are doing something loving such as an exercise dance class, meet up group, meditation or yoga seminar.
      6. Don’t do rebound relationships.
      I have done these in the past, though I didn’t do it after my divorce from my last partner. I have found that you are still in a tender phase and you need to work on those feelings of hurt, discomfort and loss. Sometimes, we think we are ready and what we really need is to meet new people and be friends first. If the right partner comes along, you will know it. Don’t rush, take your time.
      7. Don’t stay in contact with your ex/exes.
      My last ex found it annoying I stayed friends with previous exes. He use to say, “Exes can’t be friends.” I use to debate this all the time. I found it brought me more harm than good, even affecting my marriage. Growing up as an only child with little or no family, we tend to make our friends our family. I couldn’t let go of certain relationships because I was scared to be alone. In past relationships, I had keep my exes as friends but by doing so I only kept it as “yellow” light just in case the flame would revive. In order to move on, we need to keep a distance. Otherwise, we are prolonging pain or in some cases, engaging in relationships with no ties – where there is always one person that gets attached and gets hurt.  No matter how much we love or loved that person, we need to let go and accept the one relationship worth keeping is the one with ourselves.
      8. Do pray or meditate.
      Religion and spirituality continue to be the most contributing part of this healing and self-transformation equation. If you belong to a particular religion, prayer is universal – give it to God. If you are not part of any religion, being spiritual is another tool. Spirituality isn’t all about a religion. It is also about belief in yourself, your inner center, the universe and the stars. I went to free meditation seminars on Sundays during year one and even pulled up some good mediattions and mantras from YouTube. Meditation frees you to – give it to the universe. For me, giving myself to God and the universe through prayer and meditation allowed me to feel peace again, especially in those sad or anxious moments during and after my divorce.
      http://www.vishnusvirtues.com/divorce-your-inner-transformation/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      It has been a decade since I married my cheating husband. I was madly in love when the man of my dreams dropped to one knee and asked me to be his wife. That was the happiest day of my life. Everything I had planned for my future was falling seamlessly into place, and the only thing I had to do was say, "Yes!" There wasn't anything in my life I had ever been more sure of.
      It was a few months before our wedding was going to take place, and he called and asked me to come over. I knew by the sound of his voice that something was terribly wrong. I jumped in the car and headed straight for his place in a panic, my mind spinning profusely out of control. When I arrived he sat me down on the bed and told me there was something he had to be honest about if I was going to take his hand in marriage.
      He continued on to tell me that for the last four years of our relationship he had been unfaithful. Not with only one woman but with many. My entire world fell apart in just a few short breaths, and my hopes and dreams went with it. On top of the thought of losing my happily ever after fairy tale I was overwhelmed by a massive burden of shame at the thought of, what will everyone think?
      He promised that he had made a mistake and he loved me too much to ever hurt me like that again. And so I stayed. One year into our marriage, history repeated itself and while he was away for a friend's bachelor party he found himself in another woman's bed—not just once but five times that weekend. When he got home my gut told me something was wrong, so I confronted him, and he told me the truth.
      He begged and pleaded for my forgiveness, once again promising that he had made a mistake and he loved me too much to ever hurt me like that again. This time there was even more at stake—he was my husband. Overcome by the oh-so-familiar burden of shame, this time I found it harder to process the thought of leaving. And so I stayed.
      If I could go back and talk to that innocent girl, this is what I would tell her:
      1. Don't believe in empty his promises.
      I was in love with this man. He had come to me and was honest and promised he would never do it again, and I couldn't help but convince myself that I needed to believe him. Watching him beg and plead over and over broke my heart, and I felt convinced I needed stay. I held onto every ounce of those promises, but they were empty. He said those things so I would believe that we could move past it and things would be different, but he never took serious action to change anything.
      2. It's not you; it's him.
      Cheating is not a mistake. Cheating is a choice. You're never going to have all the answers or fully understand why someone you love is capable of stepping out on you. What is important to understand is that when someone cheats, it is because there is a void in their life they are trying to fill. Until they address this void, the foundation of the relationship cannot be rebuilt.
      3. You'll never really get over it.
      Once my husband and I had our endless conversations where I tried to understand and he begged for forgiveness, I would tell him I forgave him and we would get right back into normal routines. We would go on vacation and buy new things to cover up this emptiness. The saying that "you can forgive but you'll never forget" is so true. It doesn't matter what you do; you will never forget it.
      4. It will never be the same again.
      There is something in that split-second moment when you find out about infidelity that changes your relationship. Yes you can work on it, but you will never have the purity, the trust, the confidence, and the faith that you had before. A lot of relationships go through ups and downs that change their dynamics, but that is not what I am referring to. There is a significant difference between the day before you found out and the day after.
      5. Staying is a reflection of your self-worth.
      From the outside, my relationship was picture perfect. And looking back I realize that I was so concerned with my image that I ended up sacrificing my own value and happiness to protect it. I didn't love myself enough to stand up for what I truly deserved. I believed that staying made me strong, when really I found my strength the day I left him.
      6. You deserve better.
      I would tell that wounded girl that she deserved better. She deserved to be with someone who was faithful, who valued loyalty and commitment just as much as she did. She deserved someone who acted with the utmost integrity and respect, someone who loved her despite her faults and wanted to cherish her for the rest of her life. She deserved someone who loved her the way she loved him.
      Infidelity is a prevalent issue in many relationships today. Since my divorce, I've learned that other people are going to make choices that change your life—but you have control over how you respond. Now that I know this, I can approach my current marriage with the experience and wisdom necessary to build a healthy, lasting relationship.
       
      By: Sarah Cline
      Mindbodygreen.com 



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    • Not the usual Hebrew word for "law" but a late word borrowed from Persian, which is why they say it only shows up in Daniel and Esther (meaning law or custom). It did not come to mean ceremony/ritual until even later. In MODERN Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew, is it also used to describe someone who is religious. From what I can tell, this is not the same word "dat" which is related to data/datum. That word "dat" is from the word "give" implying "thing" as it to "give a thing" or "any gi
    • Well the GB and Elders act as judges that's for sure, but they will suffer for it later.   
    • Interesting. In both Arabic and Hebrew the words for religion are “din” and “dat”, which both mean “law”. Religious leaders are basically judges. By the way, the word “dat” is the origin of the word “data”.
    • Any collective belief in some approach as "the way" to solve problems is, literally, a bringing together of individuals (re = again, ligio = bond, reverence, and religare = to bind).
    • Bitcoin adoption took another boost in South America yesterday after the Argentinian central bank announced measures to tighten controls on the movement of foreign currency. The announcement came shortly after the Argentine peso plunged over 10%, setting the long-suffering Argentinian people back further. Only 20 years ago, the Argentine peso was 1:1 with the USD, but corruption and mismanagement has seen its economy collapse and the national currency is now artificially pegged at 72:1
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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