Tweeting the Meeting: Week of October 2, 2021

Midweek Meeting: Assigned Bible reading: Joshua 8-9

Did that yo-yo bro really take from the Gideon account that it’s okay to lie to elders because maybe they won’t check with God and then it will be all okay? (Joshua 9:14)

The apple drops in Newton’s hand. It’s okay, the universal symbol that points to him. But it didn’t really happen. Word is that Isaac made up that story “to dispose of stupid persons.” (Yo, Isaac, how’d ya ever think of THAT?) 

 

Weekend Meeting, Public Talk title: Can Love Conquer Hatred? It is the CO talk. “Wouldn’t we expect a book from God to answer questions like that?” he says.

Genesis 1:27, let us make in our image, ability to love, peaceful, joyful, ‘when we look at them we should be able to see ourselves in them.’

Jesus to religious leaders of his day: “you are from your father the devil & wsh to do his desires, truth is not in him, speaks the lie according to his own disposition.” They look like their father, so there is a choice—who will we look like?

“You heard that it was said: ‘You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ (Matt 5:43) The first part was said at Lev 19:18, “you must love your fellow man as yourself.” The 2nd part is nowhere said in scripture, but became a traditional assumption, a human flip side of the first.

“However, I say to you: Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you,” says Jesus. (Matt 5:44) It is an example of love conquering hatred, “gives them a chance to change.”

Matt 5:38. ‘Eye for eye, but I say do not resist the one who is wicked, but turn the other cheek,’ slap represents an insult, it is not a physical attack from which you should not defend

1 John 3:8, Jesus laying down life is beginning of his breaking up the works of the devil—the wrecking ball of love through the devils system of hatred, one swoop of ball does not eliminate structure, it has to go back and forth.

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Those of religion who are “stalking God” of whom Jesus would say, “I do not know you.”…1/2

“Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’ (Matt 7:22-23) 2/2

 

Para 3: #watchtowerstudy Proverbs 13:11 applied to a new setting, that of spiritual wealth: “Wealth quickly gained will dwindle, but the wealth of the one who gathers it little by little will increase.” First use of it this way that I am aware of.

Para 4: ditto for Proverbs 4:18,  “the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light that grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.” Here applied to personal spiritual growth, not just organizational growth.

Mama of the Wt conductor, an LDC bro, just commented, visiting via Zoom from across the country. Now I know why this fellow is so on the ball.

Para 11: God telling Habakkuk (2:3) to hold his horses—it comes when it comes. …“For the vision is yet for its appointed time, And it is rushing toward its end, and it will not lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it! For it will without fail come true.”

Para 12: not emphasized here, but a bro recently linked endurance with preaching, e.g. “The one who has endured to the end will be saved,” AND “this good news of the kingdom will be preached…” Matt 24:13-14

And he will rise up to show you mercy. For Jehovah is a God of justice. Happy are all those keeping in expectation of him.

 

The CO in concluding remarks spoke of Isa 30:21, the voice behind you saying ‘this is the way, walk in it’ and how it was a singular you, not a broadcast YOU, and how it would stabilize one who ‘walked to the right or the left.’ And how people identify with what they do so when they cannot do what they “start to wonder, ‘what’s my value?’”

And how as a boy, he became seasick on a boat trip (and felt as horrible as he ever had in his life.) The captain noticed and told him to focus on the distant lighthouse and nothing else, “the one thing that does not change,” and when he did so, he began to feel better. He then applied that to older ones feeling upheaval in their lives. Focus on the one thing that does not change, the ‘voice saying this is the way.’

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To Jab or Not to Jab—That is the Question. Part 1.

Some of the brothers were helping another move, loading and unloading a rented truck. Talk turned to Update 7, which has now itself been updated with #8. One bro was confused. ‘Get behind the Governing Body, he repeated the expression, but get behind them in what?’

I think they want you to get vaccinated, I said, and it was as though someone had finally mentioned the elephant in the room. Subsequently, everyone seemed to agree that had indeed been the thrust of it.

They’re going to have to say it if that’s what they want. The trouble with hoping people will read between the lines (if that is what is being done) is that to some “reading between the lines” is near synonymous with “going beyond what it written.” One bro said he would get vaccinated if they said he should, but only if they said it. Meanwhile, he was inclined to “trust his immune system.” They won’t be saying it, I don’t think. It consistently will remain a personal decision—and then are presented some Bible principles so you can make your personal decision, and the Bible principles cited lean pretty heavily toward taking the shot.

To be sure, what follows is an oversimplification, but a prime “religious objection” that some religious people have cited essentially boils down to “God don’t make no junk.” Isn’t the flip side of that argument to say that he does? Back in my day, if you got a vaccine, that meant you didn’t get the disease. That’s why we’ve long heard about how such-and-such a scourge has been eradicated by vaccines. Now they don’t eradicate them. Apparently, nobody any longer expects them to. They just tamp them down some and hopefully keep you out of the hospital. So many goalposts are being moved that one barely knows how to adapt. 

Medical definitions have adapted to accommodate these new realities. Mercola gives several examples of this in his heavily endnoted book, The Truth About Covid-19. Now, Mercola found himself kicked off social media platforms and harassed to such a degree that he removed much of his own content from his own website. Nonetheless, he has been a trusted name in our family for decades. He takes anything to the nth degree and you sometimes you say, “Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” but you usually say it for reasons of practicality, not because he is wrong. He does weigh in on matters in which the jury is still out, and sometimes you wonder whether that jury is being hogtied in the back room.

He points out that as late as June 2020, the WHO’s definition of ‘herd immunity’ was “the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.” In mid-November “they updated their website, erasing any notion that humans have immune systems that protect them against disease naturally.” (bolding mine) The revised understanding of herd immunity is “a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.” No mention of previous infection here, as in the original definition.

Further, he quotes WHO that: “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.” This is followed by a commentary from the American Institute for Economic Research that “this change at WHO ignores and even wipes out 100 years of medical advances in virology, immunology, and epidemiology. It is throughly unscientific….What’s even stronger is the claim that a vaccine protects people from a virus rather than exposing them to it. What’s amazing about this claim is that a vaccine works precisely by firing up the immune system through exposure. There is simply no way for medical science completely to replace the human immune system.” (my bolds again)

I wouldn’t be surprised if [my opinion, not Mercola’s—though he probably says it somewhere] if the intent is revealed in that last statement: “replace the human immune system.” The natural one is not financially profitable. The replacement one will be. For this reason it becomes very important to discredit existing means of treating Covid-10 and advance the illusion that there is no treatment. Only if there is no treatment can emergency funding at taxpayer expense be allocated to the development and subsequent mandating of vaccines. Let the cat out of the bag that you can treat Covid effectively with existing and mostly cheap drugs and that impetus is gone.

So effective substances like ivermectin are relentlessly discredited. As a result, they are denied by pharmacies who won’t fill a prescription in many states even if you have one from your doctor. This, despite doctors testifying before Congress (which I have seen) as to how when they employed the drug in treatment, people got better. When they used it themselves as a preventative, they didn’t get sick in the course of treating thousands of patients. It being so hard to get now, people buy the animal variety, prompting the FDA to talk down (as agencies so frequently do) to people with “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously y’all, stop it.” It’s a little like mocking people for drinking polluted water because fresh water is not available.

The new vaccines are not like the old ones, which exposed you to the pathogen, sometimes deadened and sometime not. The new ones seek to train the body (through modification in the messenger RNA) to manufacture a defense against a virus it has never seen. It is an entirely new technology.

How is it working? Not all that well, it appears, at least not when compared to the shots that people have taken for the last 100 years. Israel is near 90% vaccinated and yet is still experiencing an epidemic of outbreaks. The old-tech shots, when you took them, meant that you didn’t get the disease. In this new model, people may still get the disease, they still pass it on, just hopefully not as severely. It takes awhile to adjust to this new normal.

Profits are an obvious reason that the pharmaceutical industry should seek to supplement (if not replace) the immune system. Doesn’t hubris also come into play? Those who “praise [God] because in an awe-inspiring way I am wonderfully made” are not so inclined to think human science can improve on his design. One the other hand, if you don’t believe in God at all, but put all your trust in human science—well, how hard can it be to improve on what is a haphazard evolutionary process to begin with? Beliefs have practical consequences.

The new vaccines even mess with an observation I’ve made about the “little bit of poison” analogy that we are so fond of with regard to apostates. Though the brothers reason this way, they actually do accept just a little bit of poison each time they take a vaccine—the idea is that it protects them should they later encounter the scourge full-grown in the wild. Avoiding such apostate exposure altogether is difficult in these times, and without a “vaccine” to it in the form of just a tiny bit of investigatory exposure for those so inclined, some of our people are shellacked when they unexpectedly encounter it.

Now it turns out that the above observation is invalid. The new vaccines are analogous to avoiding “even a little bit of the poison.” They do indeed seek to “protect people from the virus rather than exposing them to it.” That’s why medical dictionaries and WHO guidelines are being rewritten.

It’s also worth noting that they don’t work very well. And, as evidenced by the number of people we lose to apostasy, our present counsel to protect doesn’t work very well either. In theory it works great. In practice not so much.

Be that as it may, Jehovah’s earthly organization has a job to do, and they’re chomping at the bit to resume doing it. “The coronavirus is not the worst trial to strike out at all mankind and it wont be the last. We can expect things to deteriorate even further as these last days march on till their end,” says Bro Lett.

See: To Jab or Not to Jab: Part 2

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of September 27, 2021

The #publictalk for this morning: Christian Separateness from the World—Why Beneficial.

On politics, the speaker mentioned how Christians are “surrounded by persons who support a system they don’t respect” & whereas they endeavor to respect a system they don’t support.

Citing James 1:27, “Look after orphans and widows, and keep oneself without spot from world,” he spoke of ones spinning their wheels like car stuck in mud, & how close do you get?

 

Watchtower Study for Today: ‘Cherish Your Place in Jehovah’s Family’

Theme verse: “You made him a little lower than angels, and you crowned him with glory and splendor.”​—PS. 8:5,

“A little lower than the angels” (Ps 8:5) is how God made humans. Free will like them. How many will think humans closer to the animal kingdom than angels?

One sis comments on the 2nd portion of vs 5 (the one of ‘a little lower than the angels): “and you crowned him with glory and splendor” as a given, not something ones have to establish their own, for it is part of the package. They need only to live up to it.

On Para 5 (Made in God’s image) one bro commented on how when the teacher said his daughter “was kind to other children” it did more for him than if he had learned of straight A’s

Para 6: “He honored humans by giving them “dominion over” all his marvelous works on earth. (Ps. 8:6)”  I wonder if that’s why cruelty to an animal arouses such emotion, equal to or even above to a human? It so goes against our commission.

Para 7: one bro cites Prov 27:11–“Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, So that I can make a reply to him who taunts me,” and is moved that humans have power to affect God’s feelings.

Para 10: “Jehovah gave his most precious Son so that we can once again become members of His family,” one sis commented on how at an adoption agency you similarly get to choose who will adopt.

It is a good investment of time, the Watchtower study. An hour of participatory discussion on how to live, with Bible principles underpinning all. For lack of knowing ‘how to live’ much misery stems

Para 14: “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another, take the lead.” It kind of implies we should be trying to outdo one another in this area, one sis observes.

One bro cited that verse “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another, take the lead.” (Romans 12:10) as what drew him into the faith, the observation of how people treated one another.

Para 16: On the power of good examples & bad examples, one bro (the speaker) recommends getting around that by simply focusing on Jesus’ example.

On Para 17: “Trust in Jehovah instead of in material things,” one bro comments on how having the dough to afford “many things” does not mean having the time to service them all. Cites the rich young ruler, holding many things, who turned down Jesus on that account.(mark 10:17-22)

#Midweek meeting Bible passage to consider: Joshua 6-7

As it turns out, we are Zooming in tonight from out of town—a very brief stop-off in Pittsburgh. Bummed that the aviary was closed—their eagle had escaped. ‘How does closing the aviary help?’ I asked an employee.  It allows them to be minimally staffed. Most of them are out searching for the eagle.

And lookee the sign we spotted on a sightseeing round. Look who spoke at Carnegie back in the day.Alas, the lighting isn’t so hot.

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Jehovah wants to preserve the cleanness of the congregation, the speaker says, because Jehovah is a clean God, a holy God.

Grain found in Jericho, evidence that it’s siege was short? (Otherwise they would have eaten it) I didn’t know that.

First by tribe, then by family, then by household, and you know who is starting to sweat it. Joshua 7:!4

We’ve all been there so we all know where you’re coming from, says the chairman to the one who spoke of stubbing a toe for want of light in the corridor. Psalm 119:105

Be honest. How many of those study tips did you know on JWLibrary?

That is one sneaky looking Aiken with slimy conniving family to match.

‘Half of their sons were speaking Ashʹdod·ite and half spoke the language of the different peoples, but none of them knew how to speak the language of the Jews’ (Nehemiah 13:24) is not a great record, considering that they were all Jews

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of September 20, 2021

#Publictalk for this morning is entitled, ‘The Only Cure for Sick Mankind.’ An out of town speaker.

The speaker tells of how widespread mental illness is today. “I know I’m crazy,” he says, “and Tim [the one who invited him]—he’s crazy too.”

“In New York,” the speaker says (he is a Bethel speaker) “we had a program called ‘Midnight Basketball.’ The idea was that youngsters would be running up and down the court till late at night and then would be too tired to mug you next day.”

He tells of some who say there must be bad to appreciate good & that’s why there is bad. “I want to tell you this morning that that makes absolutely no sense at all,” he adds.

The content of this talk is the explanation of evil & suffering—why God permits it. Here is the fan illustration—pull the plug and the blades slow until coming to a full stop. Have this health problem or that? “You can thank Adam for it,” the speaker says.

This speaker, in the special talk that was yesterday, spoke of the “lie within the question” at Genesis 3:1. Today he speaks of how his conduct will determine “what Jehovah becomes” in his own case.

Can you imagine never having a senior moment? the speaker says, or  always remembering where you put things.

Yesterday he spoke of how the “and things like these” of Galatians 5:21 probably made us the most trouble. He illustrated it with counsel from this doctor how he ought not eat any more chocolate cake “and things like these.”

 

#Watchtower STUDY ARTICLE entitled: Rejoice in Your Own Progress!

Theme scripture: “Let each one . . . have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”​—GAL. 6:4.  SONG 34 Walking in Integrity

About twice the normal attendance today. Visitors joining in on account of the visitor. Does it look like I’ll be able to shoehorn a comment in today?

“Children have a tendency to do that anyway,” says one sis about comparing ourselves to others, so it’s important that parents not inadvertently add to the pressure, but defuse it.

Para 8: Against all counsel, I compared my wife, “you’re not touchy like so and so, you’re not absent-minded like…, you don’t burn meals like….” Get me out of the doghouse should I ever get in there, that remark will.

It is a good point regarding Jesus that “I will never drive away the one who comes to me.” John 6:37

“(for each one knows his own plague and his own pain) when they spread out their hands toward this house,” says 2 Chronicles 6:29 “then may you hear from the heavens, your dwelling place, and may you forgive; and reward each one according to all his ways, for you know his heart

 

#Midweekmeeting: Joshua 1-3 is the assigned Bible reading for this meeting.

Song #65: Move Ahead. That is the song you would sing, I guess, if yo were crossing the Jordan.

“the waters of the Jordan flowing from upstream will be halted and they will stand still like a dam.” Wouldn’t that mean for those downstream the flow would taper off rather than shut off suddenly like a faucet.? (Jos 3:13)

One sis said how submitting to circumcision just after crossing the Jordan, before engaging the enemy, might seem like “bad timing.” (Jos 5:2) Well, I guess it might.

“I could listen to you read all day long” says the chairman, commending a student talk.

“You don’t suppose he’s got a little workshop up there, do you, building things one at a time?”

“Her real issue is getting to know someone she cannot see. Maybe that is the best place to begin….What creation really says about Jehovah, versus what evolution obscures.”

“One of the hardest things we had to do was find a home for our dog. We eventually found her one with a beautiful family.”  Yes. We are that “beautiful family” adopting the dog of some need-greater’s They’re not getting it back either. #winwin #Ramipo

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The opposite of being in a high mountain like Isa 2:2 is to be in a low one, a catch basin that accumulates all sorts of runoff. The returnees times for catching runoff was ending, exchanging it for standards from on high.

Back in those ancient times, you couldn’t have a wall without the question arising, ‘who is that wall to keep out?’ You could not have a gate without the question arising, ‘who is qualified to go in?’

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On Conspiracy Theories

Given the fact that Satan is “the father of the lie” and “the god of this system of things,” it is always possible, maybe even likely, that many conspiracy theories are true. Could it be that the only conspiracies that exist are the ones we Witnesses specialize in, having to do with worship, blood misuse, and the “conspiracy” to ram evolution down everyone’s throat? Unlikely. The trick is to not get emotionally involved in them, let them become our new cause, nor let them distract from our existing cause of preaching the good news. Might some realized conspiracy theories create havoc in the long run? In the long run we’ll all be dead if we do not heed the kingdom message.

For a time, our publications were fond of quoting historian Arnold Toynbee. Somewhere there’s a demonstration of a Witness school child citing him about how nationalism is a cancer scuttling for sure any hope for a peaceful earth, leading into a witness, no doubt, on how God’s kingdom rule was the only answer. Maybe she cited words like these, all found in the JW online library research tool. They are number here to make clear they are separate excerpts, not just one long quotation. The bolding is mine:

1.  A basic reason for this deplorable condition is mankind’s adherence to political and national loyalties. These have kept the human family utterly divided and working at cross-purposes. That is why historian Arnold Toynbee said that nationalism “has been in truth the master religion,” since many people give worshipful obedience to it. Toynbee stated that this worship of sovereign states sets their respective members against one another “because this religion is an expression of self-centredness.” And he felt that this “self-centredness is the source of all strife.”

2.  Historian Arnold Toynbee described nationalism as the “most powerful and most vicious of the three post-Christian Western ideologies. [The others being, according to Toynbee, ‘world communism’ and ‘world capitalism.’] . . . Nationalism is about ninety per cent of the religion of about ninety per cent of the whole human race.” Yet nationalism has divided mankind for thousands of years. Then how can the God of peace rid the earth of this scourge?

3.  The present-day global set of local sovereign states is not capable of keeping the peace.”—Arnold Toynbee, Mankind and Mother Earth.

4.  Famous British historian Arnold J. Toynbee declared today that civilization had reached a point where the very continuity of the human race depends on formation of World Government. ‘It is the mutual interest of the nations to subordinate their national sovereignty to world authorities,’ he said. ‘This is the only condition in which the nations can survive in an atomic age.’”

Significant nationalism did not take root until the close of World War I, an event that always ranks high on our radar, for it marks the first time the entire world was concurrently at war and thus seems fine opening “birth pangs,” Jesus’ words at Matthew 24:7, that once they start, other pangs will dependably follow:

“For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.”

So here we are thinking that Toynbee’s exposure of nationalism will turn people to the prospect of government by God. And that has happened with some. At a recent meeting, one sister commented on how it was the question “What do you think of theocratic rule—of government by God?” that first piqued her interest in Bible study.

However, it is not an either/or choice. Just because people can see the pitfalls of nationalism does not mean that they will choose submission to God as the alternative. Some will try to fix human rule. Since Toynbee has shown that you can’t fix human rule via the nation state model that only digs you deeper into a hole, the only human alternative is to push an overriding model. The only people with the wherewithal to do this will be the super wealthy. Many of these ones, as captains of business, industry, and technology, have already proven their managerial ability.

If “conspiracy theories” weren’t spun as maniacal efforts for control just for the sake of control, or clumsier yet, for the sake of the rich making themselves even richer, it would be easier to see them for what they are. They are efforts to save the planet per human terms from the ones who have the wherewithal to launch such efforts. Of course, they are designed so that the architects of such remain on top with their own interests unharmed, but anybody will do that—no mystery there.

Nuclear annihilation was the only doomsday scenario envisioned in Toynbee’s day; now there is worthy competition from any number of threats. If nationalism torpedoed efforts to bring peace, or even avoid nuclear annihilation, so does it torpedo efforts to solve more modern problems that left unchecked promise ruin to the earth—such as overpopulation, climate change, sustainability, and pollution. Those concerned over these things who have the power to push an alternative will do so. Of course, they can’t be open about it, for people like their human governments—usually they have had some role in putting them in power. So they have to push things secretly. They even make use of existing shells not effective in themselves, such as the United Nations. Hence they come across as conspiracies. It is just a subset of human rulership. The nation-state model doesn’t work, yet the powerful are in no mood to turn to God. If they are powerful enough, they push another human model.

It’s not just us who see the iron and clay don’t mix. If the iron can only neutralize the clay, that statue may yet stand. If the iron and clay can be mashed together by a clandestine human force more powerful than popular nationalism, that is what the schemes often labeled conspiracy theories seek to do. How far one will look into such things will be a personal matter, but the same principles of neutrality with regard to human political systems will apply.

Meanwhile at Bethel, they do the Luke 9:62 thing: “No man who has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well-suited for the Kingdom of God.” If you keep looking aside at all the conspiracy theories, the furrows get all wavy. We’ll just get the shot and be done with it, they say. That way they can keep focused on God’s rule and not just another variation of human rule.

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of September 13, 2021

Should I razz the speaker today, the one who follows me here on Twitter? And say he is one whose wife kept a hidden box in which there was 3 eggs and $6000? …..1/2

When he found out each time he gave a bad talk, she added an egg to the box, his chest puffed out. “40 years a speaker and only 3 bad talks!” he said.

Then he found the $6000 was all the money she had made over the years selling eggs……2/2

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Title of the public talk is Gaining Comfort in all Our Tribulations

His chosen song is #44: ‘A prayer of the lowly one.’ I like how in the refrain each line ascends the scales, until the final line returns to the starting place. (Do musicians have a better description of this?)

The speaker says how the root word of ‘comfort’ from 2 Corinthians can also be rendered ‘encouragement.’ I know this is true, for when I wrote ‘Don’t Know Why We Persecute’ & used that verse, I found translations were divided about 50/50 over that word choice.

Elijah mocks the prophets of Baal with “some of the best sarcasm in the Bible,” says the Bible.…‘Yo, call out louder! Maybe he’s in there taking a dump!’ 1 Kings 18:27 [my words, not his]

WatchtowerStudy article for today: Avoid Stirring Up Competition​—Promote Peace“.  Theme scripture: Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another.”​—GAL. 5:26.    Song 101: Working Together in Unity

Huh. Something I have not seen before. The Watchtower conductor displays in smaller picture, with Zoom text above that his bandwidth is low.

One sis comments on paragraph 3 with “Is my self-worth tied up with what others think of me?”

Para 4: and if we insist on comparing ourselves with others, it’s probably worth reflecting on 1 Corinthians 1:26 that none of use are really hot stuff….”not many wise in a fleshly way, not many powerful, not many of noble birth, but God chose the foolish things…1/3

of the world to put the wise men to shame; and God chose the weak things of the world to put the strong things to shame; and God chose the insignificant things of the world and the things looked down on, the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, ….2/3

so that no one might boast in the sight of God,” is how it is put….3/3

Para 7: Isn’t the “negative qualities of egotism and envy could be likened to impurities contaminating the fuel that powers an aircraft”illustration (which I’ve not heard before) inspired by the scripture that accompanies it, Proverbs 16:18, about pride before the crash?

Para 8: Never does their fail to be at least one quality in which the other person is better than you. Find that quality and hone in on it. It is the secret of Philippians 2:3

One sis (who does have children) comments on how to be involuntarily childless “is hard enough on a woman,” but then to be taunted over it… 1 Samuel 1:6

Para 16: For example, there is no record that he took offense when Aquila and Priscilla “explained the way of God more accurately to him.”​ acts 18:24-28   Sure. Good point. A lot of “eloquent” men will take offense at correction.

One bro puts words in the mouth of Apollos in that pic of he speaking with Paul. ‘He’s not saying that,’ I tell my wife.

One bro talks of how small stitches are preferable to large ones. You would want that in a surgery, he says. They look better, too.

After the meeting, the speaker who was dogsitting, said how mortified he was at the dogs loudly lapping up water. I hadn’t noticed that.

 

The assigned Bible reading for the #midweekmeeting is Joshua 1-2. Starting any new book there is always an overview of what’s ahead.

My service buddy, the one who says to me (and I to him) “Try not to screw up this door like you did the last one” is standing for the opening song, but has not adjusted his laptop. All we see on Zoom is a torso.

“Be courageous and strong. Do not be struck with terror or fear, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9) is a theme that I think will reverberate tonight.

Mercifully, the reader for Joshua 2:1 does not pronounce the city of Shittim so it sounds like you-know-what.

The chairman just told the teen reading the first talk that he is an excellent reader (he is) and that we can all learn from him (we can.) He even interjects on the youngster’s appearance that “you look so good”—as though commenting on threads.

And to think as a high schooler (before my Witness days) the prospect of a standup book report would strike terror in me. If deferred one day for lack of time, it just meant it was sure to come tomorrow

“Hard to think someone wouldn’t be interested in listening to you talk,” he tells another young sis after she completes the RV talk.

Whoa. The third talk, a bro taking it on short notice, begins with him telling his HH of a verse that will “blow your mind.” Job 26:7 about the earth “suspended upon nothing.” Not bad for3500 years ago, when people thought things, even stars, had to be attached to something….1/2

I mean, if it claims to be the Word of God, it can’t just parrot the stupid stuff commonly believed back then—stupid to us, though not to wise men of the day……2/2

Huh. Didn’t do the part on the schedule about conscience. Did the GB #7 update instead.

Look, the temple Ezekiel saw wouldn’t fit on Mt Moriah—too big, and Mt Moriah isn’t above all other hills—there are higher ones surrounding it. And no river is going to flow from the Most Holy bringing the Dead Sea to life—not in any literal temple.

“describe the temple to the house of Israel, so that they will feel ashamed because of their errors, and they should study its plan.” Ezekiel 43:10

Show the plans of my house and someone might feel ashamed if it calls for 2x8s and they typically use 2x4s.

What is it about “the carcasses of their kings” defiling God’s holy name, not to mention their “spiritual prostitution” that appeals to me as a description? (Ezekiel 43:7)

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Switching Study Guides—Good News from God to Enjoy Life Forever: Part 2

(See Part 1)

If they were “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd” then how much more are they now? (Matthew 9:36) Not only “skinned and thrown about” but they know it. “Have the governments of the world succeeded in bringing peace to the world? No,” says the public speaker. “Have they failed miserably? Yes,” he continues. Jehovah’s Witnesses appeal to those who don’t equivocate.

Seeking to run down the faith, one grumbler says its “publications pump out fear-driven content that keeps followers afraid that the end is coming...” Is it our publications that do that or is it theirs? Read the news headlines and try not to say it is theirs. One of my all-time favorite posts is that of the Newsweek cover decrying calamities of the week before capping it all with: “What the #@%! is Next?”

Normalize it if you will and some do. Those aren’t the ones Jehovah’s Witnesses look for. Anyone who doesn’t know where we are in the stream of time has been living in a coma, says Anthony Morris. Exactly.

Here is a study relating how “fifty-six percent of young people surveyed said they agreed with the statement that humanity is doomed, while 75 percent said they believed the future was frightening.” Are they “sheep without a shepherd—skinned and thrown about? They attribute their gloom to “their national governments, who they said were “betraying” them and future generations through their inaction” toward climate change.

Newsweek is up to its old tricks again. “A doomsday COVID variant worse than Delta and Lambda may be coming, scientists say,” screams its cover. That won’t make the young people feel any better, will it?  who now have yet another reason to feel doomed.

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And Jehovah’s Witnesses are the ones scaring people? Just how do people conduct themselves when they think they are doomed? At least the Witness “scare” offers a way of escape. Theirs does not. 

So maybe all this means that you don’t pussyfoot around with your new study guide. “The time left is reduced,” Paul said long ago. It’s much more reduced now. You don’s systematically examine belief systems so as to tell what wrong with them since the persons you’re looking at don’t have belief systems—they are skinned and thrown about, trying to find their way and place. Those who do sense at some level, whether immediently or in their gut, where we are in the stream of time—that’s who Witnesses look for. If they don’t sense it—there’s not much one can do about it. Look for those who do.

“This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ,” says John 17:3. Okay. Got it. Hold off on involved stuff for now. See how the basics resonate. Focus on introducing people to those parties, God and his Son. Help them build their own relationship with those two—this is what the new study guide Enjoy Life Forever does. With a relationship to Jehovah and his son, the rest comes easy. Without it, the rest does not come at all.

Pressures from this system of things will cause persons to move in both directions—some into Jehovah’s organized Christian arrangement and some out. The appeal of Witnesses is that one may understand the Bible. “It can be an open book to you,” the tract used to say. Should that open book appeal fade, people will depart as quickly as they came. Sometimes the fact that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7) causes ones to forget it is treasure.

“I don’t know,” Ruth, who was old even then, or was it that I was young? told me long ago as we were awaiting the householder to answer the bell—I don’t remember if he did or not. “They come in, and they go out. Seems it would be better if more stayed in.” Is it possible? We’ve consolidated Kingdom Halls in the US because they didn’t fill to overflow as we had hoped they would when we built them. One fellow at the coffee shop razzed me over one that had been sold. “It’s because of our great growth,” I told him.

If I had my druthers, I’d like to see focus on, not just why people come into the truth, but also why they leave it. “Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things,” Paul writes to Timothy. (2 Tim 4:10) How could he do that? “We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one,” states Paul, (2 Corinthians 7:2) Who said that they had? There must have been someone.

Were there more focus on why some leave the faith even as others join it, maybe “apostates” wouldn’t hold the bogeyman status among Witnesses that they do. Defuse the mystery of their departure, for it is always mundane. “No temptation has come upon you except what is common to men.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) I’m struck with how when people leave, answers to the burning spiritual questions that drew them in seemingly vanish into thin air and are never contemplated again.

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Tweeting the Meeting: Week of September 6, 2021

Weekend Meeting Title of the public talk today is ‘The Kingdom of God is Near.’

 

The speaker today is that retired police office, highly respected, that if you are cleaning your gun on private property that JWs have rented and he in security asks nicely you to leave and you don’t because you “have rights” you soon find yourself surrounded by cop cars.

When the speaker read of “a noise from heaven, just like that of a rushing, stiff breeze,” (Acts 2:2) why did I hear it as a Russian stiff breeze? [‘sounds like a mixed drink,’ someone says afterwards]

The GB serves as “ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us. As substitutes for Christ, we beg: “Become reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) They announce kingdom, tell benefits of, and tell requirements of.

“Have the governments of the world succeeded in bringing peace to the world? No,” says the speaker. “Have they failed miserably? Yes,” he continues. JWs appeal to those who don’t equivocate.

The speaker is in 3-piece suit and there is no question of the lower third replaced by jeans. Probably his shoes are shined. He is too respectful for it to be otherwise. He is a balm in the congregation who is quick to come to people’s aid.

“As we drive down the highway mile after mile, our windshield gets dirty. We have to clean it from time to time,” says the speaker, referring to things that would deprive people of clear spiritual vision.

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STUDY ARTICLE 27. ‘Imitate Jehovah’s Endurance’ from the July 2021 Study Watchtower considered toda….theme scripture: “By your endurance you will preserve your lives.”​—LUKE 21:19….SONG 114 “Exercise Patience”

“For look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be called to mind, Nor will they come up into the heart.” Isaiah 65:17

The sister just commented who when the home improvement salesperson wants to speak, not just to the husband, but also the wife, says “I don’t do that.”

A verse advancing the novel notion that Jehovah is an example of endurance: “What, then, if God had the will to demonstrate his wrath and to make his power known, and he tolerated with much patience vessels of wrath made fit for destruction?” (Romans 9:22) ….1/2

So it’s not easy for him. He doesn’t have it made in the shade after all….2/2

Man, I hate when your have your hand up and the conductor asks an additional question then calls on you. #Eggonyourface

So God can beat the snot out of any challenger, but that will only prove his power, not that he is right. It might even suggest he is wrong to act so immediately. No, he has to let time play out.

We always best remember the study guide is use when we were studying. #Truthbook

One bro comments how in a war, both sides are apt to claim God is with them. Yeah. Just once I would like to see a war in which one side or the other says “We are the bad guys.” [‘do you realize you are saying you’d like to see a war?’ one sis says afterwards]

Though not in the lesson, one sis mentioned Psalm 116:15  “Costly in the eyes of Jehovah Is the death of his loyal ones.”  It was the favorite verse of a sis whose husband had died and then she did later.

On mistreatment of the animal kingdom, the sis who is a veterinarian has something to say. I guess I should have foreseen that.

Someday an overhead comet will reverse roles and leave animals in charge. When that happens—we’re in trouble. #Payback.

Ah. Good. The bro who is not in good health and was away for a time just read a scripture.

 

 

 

 

Closing out the book of Deuteronomy tonight. Final two chapters, 33 & 34. Who knew that Jeshurun was another name—an affectionate one—for Israel? #midweekmeeting

 

“He buried him in the valley in the land of Moʹab, opposite Beth-peʹor, and nobody knows where his grave is down to this day.” Deuteronomy 34:6

 

“For what possible reason did Jehovah not reveal Moses’ burial place?”

 

So it wouldn’t become a tourist trap.

 

The key to the Bible reading, Deuteronomy 33:1-18, is to break it down according to who is being addressed. There is the setup, then remarks to Reuben, then more to Levi, then a little to Benjamin, then much to Joseph. I know this is key because the reading was assigned me…1/2

 

on short notice and I had to figure it out….2/2

 

When a young teen came 2the door home alone, I engaged him in brief chat, maybe 5 min.Taking my leave, his mom pull up the drive. Introducing myself briefly, I said I had asked her youngster a question or two & he had answered intelligently. “You should be proud of him,” I said.

 

When pre-meeting chat turned 2 timeshare salespeople, I told how mine had been a former NYPD detective. What a perfect 2nd career 4a detective, having to read people, I laughed. “You don’t think I’m reading you right now?” he says. I do, I told him, that’s what makes it so funny!

 

Was that an unheard gasp I heard at encourage to cover a lesson per week in the new guide?

 

“Why should you show this video to new students?”

 

So they hear the 1 lessen per week goal and know that you’re doing it wrong if you squeeze out every point for 5 weeks.

 

Heavenly things in Paul’s temple vision, not Ezekiel’s. Sacrifices outlined for many in Ezekiel’s temple, not needed at all in Paul’s, since Christ sacrificed “once for all time.” Almost makes you wonder that they could have been mixed up to begin with.

 

With 6 centuries to go of following the Mosaic law, it’s not time to put the cart before the horse, detailing how the future one works, lest people forget about the present one.

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Switching Study Guides—Good News from God to Enjoy Life Forever—Part 1

Chuck started his Zoom Bible study with the Good News from God brochure as guide. Since there was encouragement to switch to the new interactive guide when feasible, I looked for a seamless spot. I thought I had found one. I hadn’t.

Lesson 10 of GNfG seemed the spot. Entitled “How Can You Recognize True Worship?” with subheadings “Is there only one true religion?” “What did Jesus say about false Christians?” “How can you recognize true worshippers?” and “Can you identify the true religion?”

Intensify it only slightly to the “How False Religion Misrepresents God” of Enjoy Life Forever, Lesson 13, and it seemed a perfect transition place.

It wasn’t.

Chuck took to the transition and the new guide. Several lessons on Jesus followed. (15-17) “Who is Jesus?” “What did Jesus do on earth?” and “What was Jesus like?” He took to them all and carried on how he had learned so much about Jesus. He loved how we had [his words] “married Bible study, evangelizing, and technology.” We covered several chapters, two weeks per lesson.

He’s not one hard to draw out; he likes to talk. He was a philosophy major in college not so long ago. Need I say more? He’s not quite so participatory as Alex, who felt he had to act out the answers as though in a drama class—if the answer was ‘scribes and Pharisees,’ any other student would just say ‘scribes and Pharisees’ but Alex would bound off his chair and strut around his apartment nose in the air as he imagined the scribes and Pharisees would do.

Chuck doesn’t carry on to that extent, but he is loquacious. Think of the 30-second goal in commenting at meetings that our Watchtower conductor is a real bug on. The need-greater from Myanmar tells me it is not just so that more people can comment, but also that we may learn to be concise, just like Jesus was. I’ve even begun to, within very narrow limits, incorporate this counsel into my own writing. I’ve been known to meander forever before getting down to a topic. Yes, but the thing is, people tell me, we don’t really like you that much—why don’t you just address the point? Ah well—none of this matters in a home Bible study. It’s not me that talks, it’s him, and philosophers are seldom at a loss for words.

Presently, however, I began looking ahead in the guide and grew uneasy. Coming up were chapters such as “Are Jehovah’s Witnesses real Christians?” and “Baptism—a worthwhile goal.” Seriously? We haven’t laid all the groundwork yet! The topic of why evil and suffering exist is still ahead of us! All previous guides have considered it before it comes time to figure who has the true religion. What kind of sense does this new way make? Other lessons long considered basic, including many of those we’ve already covered in GNfG, are still ahead of us in ELF! What gives? We should be asking whether the students think JWs have the true religion before laying the groundwork that proved to us it does?

I tell Chuck I’m a little at a loss now that I’ve seen the two study guides do not parallel each other, as I had assumed they did—he’s the first study I have conducted with the new interactive guide. That makes me a pioneer! he says. Either that or a guinea pig, I tell him. Well, we can continue with the present course, I propose, speeding through it somewhat. Or we can go back to Lesson 1 and proceed from there, since it is different material, not parallel to the Good News from God at all.

What bothers me doesn’t bother him at all. Times change, he says. Curriculum adjusts. Of course it does, but I grasped it only upon reflection. He grasped it instantly.

To be continued…

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Tweeting the Meeting: August 30, 2021

“Meeting the Test of Christian Loyalty” is the title of the public talk this morning. A local speaker.

The speaker quotes Psalm 103:12. “As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, So far off from us he has put our transgressions.” Turns out that this verse was in my son’s first Bible reading. I can still see him gesturing the distance with both hands.

“Simon, Simon, look! Satan has demanded to have all of you to sift you as wheat. “ (Luke 22:31) Sobering.

“I will act with discretion and blamelessness” says Psalm 101:2, but when I asked my wife, “What verse was that?” she answered with the call digits of a nearby radio station. She did not sing the jingo, however—WARM 101.3

Concluding verse is Psalm 18:25. “With someone loyal you act in loyalty; With the blameless man you deal blamelessly.”

“God is . . . giving you both the desire and the power to act.”​—Phil. 2:13.   Theme verse of today’s WatchtowerStudy, with application to the Christian ministry.

Ha. Here is the Zoom Watchtower reader reading from an cushy chair at home and I have sat in that chair before during meetings for field service.

Two verses the Witness faith takes very seriously, someone says. Matt 10:7  “As you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near’”  and Luke 8:1. “he traveled from city to city…village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the Kingdom of God.”

Para 8: A comment from one bro on how overcoming doctrine is not what it once was, since few have any. More emphasis instead on principles of living that lead to happiness. One sis likens it to “coming home.”

Does the guide “Enjoy Life Forever” reflect a view that people are like sheep without a shepherd, and they know it? Is that why matters of doctrine come much later than what we are used to and matters of drawing close to God and his worshippers much sooner?

Para 11: “Jesus taught Nicodemus at night, which was a time that Nicodemus preferred.”​—John 3:1, 2.   [because he was chicken. Or was he discreet? Why create a sandstorm when you don’t have to?]

Para 11: “consider one of the lessons we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have discovered that we can conduct effective Bible studies electronically”…..They’re easier that way, too

Para 14: “Remember that people’s circumstances can change quickly in this turbulent world.” Sounds crazy, but can 5 years ago be considered the good ol days? Before pandemic, before non-stop crazy weather, floods, fires, before unhinged hostility in politics that began with 2016 election.

Midweek Meeting, week of August 30, 2021. Assigned Bible reading: Deuteronomy 31-32

“Just as an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its fledglings, Spreading out its wings, taking them, Carrying them on its pinions, Jehovah alone kept leading him.” (Deuteronomy 32:11)  The speaker flaps his arms to illustrate this. #midweekmeeting

Someone said—no, not me, and also not at the meeting—that an eagle had one more pinion than did another type of bird. The difference between them, therefore, was “a matter of a pinion.”

Some themes don’t change. Moses: “If you have been so rebellious against Jehovah while I am still alive with you, then how much more so will you be after my death! (Deuteronomy 31:27)….1/2

Paul: “True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who is right now acting as a restraint is out of the way.”….2 Thessalonians 2:7….2/2

“Be courageous and strong. Do not be afraid or struck with terror before them, for Jehovah your God is the one marching with you. He will neither desert you nor abandon you,” says Moses to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 31:6)

As an invitation to read a verse, get HH’s thoughts, then leave, I would sometimes choose James 1:13: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone.”….1/2

The reason I chose this scripture, I would say, is that some people think he DOES do evil…..2/2

My wife’s virtual householder was surly, as she had been asked to be. She was “so done” with religion, “so done” with websites where you have to enter passwords—“so done” with all of it.

“And your timing was very good,” says the bro who is attentive to such things. “Just checking to see if the other group is with us yet. Hmm. Maybe we’ll give them a couple more minutes.”   What does that say as to their timing?

“Remember those who are taking the lead among you, who have spoken the word of God to you, and as you contemplate how their conduct turns out, imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)  At time of writing, that would have included James, put to death by Herod ending a life of faith.

Bro Sullivan on the running board fending off attackers of Rutherford. Reminds me of a bro long deceased who with others [surprisingly, per the words of his grandson] “used to stack them up like cordwood.”

Entering the room behind the Zoom bro presiding is his 4-year old, in pajamas with flopping doggie ear hat, intent on getting his attention. He must see her behind him on screen and cannot suppress a broad smile.

Imagine. A full 1/5 of the book of Ezekiel is his vision of the temple. Almost irresistible to connect it with Paul’s discussion of the temple, but this is being rethought “to the relief of those who studied the old Ezekiel book,” one older sis says, for it was quite complex.

Bros carrying on about how they struggled to grasp all the parallels. Now they don’t have to. Was it therefore “a waste of time?” If so, there are plenty of worse ways to waste it. What’s wrong with rummaging around in the word of God?

Paul wrote: “Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail.” (Heb. 9:4, 5)    If it wasn’t then, it isn’t now.

 

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