9.21.2017

"Weep With Those Who Weep" - KEEP PROVIDING COMFORT


It is not possible to know exactly how long it will take for each person to grieve.  When a loved one dies, at first many friends and relatives are there to provide comfort.  But after they return to their normal way of life, those who are grieving still need comfort.  So be ready to help.  "A true friend shows love at all times, and is a brother who is born for times of distress." (Proverbs 17:17)  We need to comfort grieving ones for as long as they need us. -Read 1 Thessalonians 3:7. 

Remember that a person may suddenly be overwhelmed by grief at any time. This could be because of anniversaries, certain music, photographs, activities, or even a smell or a sound, or season of the year.  When a grieving widow or widower does something alone for the first time, such as attending an assembly or the Memorial, it can be very painful. "I expected my first wedding anniversary to be very traumatic," relates one brother, "and it was not easy. But a few brothers and sisters planned a small gathering of my closest friends so that I wouldn't be on my own." 

Remember that those who are grieving need encouragement not just on special occasions.  "Often the help  and companionship offered when there is no special anniversary can be very beneficial," explains Junia.  "Those spontaneous  moments are so valuable and bring much comfort."  True , we cannot take away all their grief or loneliness, but we can comfort those who grieve by doing things for them.  (1 John 3:18)  Gaby says:  "I am truly grateful to Jehovah for the loving elders who walked me through every difficult step of the way.  They have truly made me feel Jehovah's loving arms around me."  

It is comforting to know that Jehovah, the God of all comfort, will completely remove all grief at the time of the resurrection.  (John 5:28, 29)  God promises that "he will do away with death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces."  (Isaiah 25:8)  Then, instead of having to "weep withe those who weep," everyone on earth will "rejoice with those who rejoice." -Romans 12:15.   

* Empathy:  The ability to feel someone else's pain as if it were our own.  We try to understand how the person feels.  When we have empathy for our brothers and sisters, we listen to him/her, we are patient with them, and we give them the help  that they need. 

Soothing Words of Comfort

* "We don't know what to say except that we love you. We can't understand exactly how you feel, but Jehovah does and will keep raising you up.  We hope that our prayers will help a little."

* "May Jehovah sustain you at this time of such great loss."

* "May you find comfort in knowing that your dear one is safe in the memory of God, who will remember every detail about him/her and bring them back again."

*" Your loved one will never have to face the last enemy, death, ever again.  In the meantime, his acts of faith live on until he stands up alive and whole in the Paradise."

* "While words fail to capture the pain of losing a loved one, we look forward to the time when words will fail to capture the joy of having our heavenly Father return your dear one to you." 

Next time: Ruth and Naomi - "Where You Go I Shall Go"  -Where You Go I Shall Go

From the jw.org publications 

"Weep With Those Who Weep" - Conclusion of THE CONGREGATION IS A SOURCE OF GREAT COMFORT


It can be difficult to know what to say to someone who is grieving. But the Bible says that "the tongue of the wise is a healing."  (Proverbs 12:18)  Many have found comforting words to share in the brochure When Someone You Love Dies."  Often, though, the most helpful thing you can do  is to "weep with those who weep."  (Romans 12:15)  Gaby, whose husband died, says that sometimes the only way for her to express her feelings is by crying.  She add:  "That is why I get some comfort when friends cry with me. At that moment, I don't feel quite so alone in my grief."  

If you find it difficult to say something comforting in person, it may easier to send a card, an e-mail,  a text message, or a letter.  You could simply quote a comforting scripture, mention a special quality that you remember about the person who died, or share a happy memory that you cherish.  "Receiving a short encouraging message or an invitation to spend time with a  fellow Christian helps me more than I can say," says Junia.   "Those expressions make me feel loved and cared for." 

Our prayers can help our grieving brothers and sisters.  We can pray for them or even pray with them.  Even though it may seem difficult to do because you feel that you may cry, your heartfelt  payer can be a powerful comfort.  "Sometimes when sisters have to come to comfort me," recalls Dalene,  "I have asked them if they are willing to say a prayer.  They start praying and they say the most heartfelt prayer.  Their strong faith, their love, and their concern have been very faith-strengthening." 

Next time: "Weep With Those Who Weep" - KEEP PROVIDING COMFORT

From the jw.org publications

"Weep With Those Who Weep" - "COMFORT FROM THE SCRIPTURES"



The account about Jesus' intense grief at the time of Lazarus' death is just one of the many comforting scriptures found in God's Word.  This does not surprise us because of "all the things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope."  (Romans 15:4)  If you are grieving, you too can find soothing comfort from such scriptures as the following:

* "Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit." -Psalm 34:18, 19. 

* "When anxieties overwhelmed me, you [Jehovah] comforted and soothed me." -Psalm 94:19. 

* "May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave everlasting comfort and good hope by means of undeserved kindness, comfort your hearts and make you firm." - 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17. 

THE CONGREGATION IS A SOURCE OF GREAT COMFORT

Grieving ones can also find comfort in the Christian congregation.  (Read 1 Thessalonians  5:11)  How can you strengthen and comfort those who have "a crushed spirit"?  (Proverbs 1 7:22)  Remember that there is "a time to be silent and a time to speak."  (Ecclesiastes 3:7)  A widow named Dalene explains that those who are grieving need to express their thoughts and feelings.  Therefore, the most important thing you can do  is to listen without interrupting. Junia, whose brother committed suicide, says,  "Even though you may not be able  to grasp their grief completely, what counts is that you want to understand how they feel."  

We need to remember that not all of us feel and express grief in the same way.   Sometimes it is impossible to explain exactly how much pain we are feeling.  God's Word says:  "The heart knows its own bitterness, and no outsider can share in its joy."  (Proverbs 14:10)   Even when someone does express how he feels, it is not always for others to understand what he is trying to say.  

Next time: "Weep With Those Who Weep" -Conclusion of THE CONGREGATION IS A GREAT SOURCE OF COMFORT

From the jw.org publications 

9.20.2017

"Weep With Those Who Weep" - JESUS ALSO UNDERSTANDS OUR FEELINGS



When he as on earth, Jesus perfectly imitated his Father's beautiful qualities by  what he said and what he did.  (John 5:19)  Jehovah sent Jesus to the earth to comfort "the brokenhearted" and "all who mourn."  (Isaiah 61:1, 2; Luke 4:17-21)  People knew that Jesus understood their suffering and really wanted to help them. -Hebrews 2:17.  

When Jesus was young, he likely had close friends and family members who died. For example, it seems that his adoptive father Joseph, may have died when Jesus was still a young man. Imagine how difficult it must have been for such a caring young person to endure his own grief, as well as the sorrow of his mother, brothers, and sisters. 

During his ministry, Jesus showed that he really understood people and had empathy for them. For example, when his close friend Lazarus died, Jesus felt the intense pain that Mary and Martha experience.  His empathy for them was so strong that he began to cry, even though he knew that he was going to resurrect Lazarus. - John 11:33-36. 

"How can Jesus' comforting words from the past help us today?  The Bible makes it clear that Jesus has not changed. It says:  "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever."  (Hebrews 13:8) He is called the Chief Agent of life" because he makes it possible  for us to live forever. Jesus also understands grief personally and "is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test."  (Acts 3:15; Hebrews 2:10, 18) So we can be sure that Jesus is still affected when others are in pain. He understands their grief, and he is able to give them comfort "at the right time." -Hebrews 4:15, 16. 

Next time: "Weep With Those Who Weep" -'COMFORT FROM THE SCRIPTURES" 

From the jw.org publications 

"Weep With Those Who Weep?


"Keep encouraging one another and building one another up." - 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11.

FOR almost a year after the death of our son, we felt deep and excruciating pain," said Susi.  After his wife died suddenly, one brother said that he experience "indescribable physical  pain."'  Sadly, many people experience this kind of pain.  In the Christian congregation today, many of our brothers and sisters did not expect their loved ones to die before Armageddon.  Perhaps someone you love has died, or maybe you know someone who is grieving. If so, you may wonder, 'How can a grieving person find comfort?' 

Some people say that time can heal all wounds. But is this always so?  One widow said,  "I have found it more accurate to say that it is what one does with one's time that helps one to heal."  A physical wound needs time and care in order to heal.  In a similar way, it takes time and tender care to heal emotional pain. What, specifically,  can help those who are grieving to lessen their emotional pain? 

JEHOVAH IS "THE GOD OF ALL  COMFORT"

Our compassionate Father, Jehovah, is the main one who gives us the comfort that we need.  (Read 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) He is the greatest example of empathy, and he promises his people:  "I am the one comforting you." -Isaiah 51:12; Psalm 119:50, 52, 76. 

Our loving Father has also experienced the loss of loved ones, such as his servants Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and King David.  (Numbers 12:6-8; Matthew 22:31, 32; Acts 13:22)  The Bible shows us that Jehovah really looks forward to the day when he will resurrect those faithful men.  (Job 14:14, 15)  At that time, they will be happy and enjoy perfect health. Jehovah also experienced the death of his firstborn Son.  The Bible says that Jesus was the one God was"especially fond of ."  (Proverbs 8:22, 30)  We cannot even imagine how distressing it must have been for Jehovah to watch his Son Die a painful death. -John 5:20; 10:17.  

We can be absolutely sure that Jehovah will help us. So we should always feel free to pray to him and express our feelings and that he gives us the comfort we need!  But how does he do that? 

One of the many ways Jehovah comforts us is by means of his holy spirit.  (Acts 9:31) Jesus promised that our Father would give his powerful holy spirit to those who ask him for it.  (Luke 11:13)  Susi, mentioned earlier, says:  "There were so many times when we just dropped to our knees and implored Jehovah to comfort us. Every single time, the peace of God truly guarded our hearts and minds." -Read Philippians 4:6, 7. 

Next time: "Weep With Those Who Weep" - JESUS ALSO UNDERSTANDS OUR FEELINGS

From the jw.org publications


A World Without Prejudice - When? -GOD'S KINGDOM WILL END ALL PREJUDICE


While Bible knowledge can help to control and root out strong emotions, there are two  other elements that must be dealt with  before prejudice can be completely eliminated.  First, there is sin and human imperfection.  The Bible plainly states:  "There is no man that does not sin."  ( 1 kings 8:46) So no matter how hard we try, we face the same internal struggle as the apostle Paul, who wrote:  "When I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me."  (Romans 7:21)  Thu, from time to time, our imperfect heart will resort to "injurious reasonings" that can lead to prejudice. -Mark 7:21. 

Second, there is the influence of the Devil. The Bible describes him as "a manslayer" and says that he is "misleading the entire inhabited earth."  (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9)  That explains why prejudice is so prevalent and why mankind seem so helpless in the face of bigotry, discrimination, genocide, and other forms of racial, religious, and social intolerance.  Hence, before there can be the total elimination of prejudice, there must be the removal of human sin, imperfection, and the influence of Satan the Devil.  The Bible shows that God's Kingdom will accomplish just that.

Jesus taught his followers to pray to God in these words: "Let your kingdom come and let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  (Matthew 6:10)  Gods  Kingdom is the means by which all injustices-including all forms of intolerance and  prejudice-will be done away with. 

When God's Kingdom comes and takes control over earth's affairs, Satan will be "bound," or completely restrained, so that  "he might not mislead the nations."  (Revelation 20:2, 3) There will then be a "new earth," or human society, in which "righteousness is to dwell." -2 Peter 3:13. 

Those living in that righteous human society will be brought to perfection, free from sin. (Romans 8:21)  As subjects of God's Kingdom,  "they will not do any harm or cause any ruin."  Why? "Because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah."  (Isaiah 11:9)  At that time, all mankind will learn Jehovah God's ways and imitate his loving personality.   This will indeed mean the end of all prejudice,  "for there is no partiality with God." -Romans 2:11. 

Next time: "Weep With Those Who Weep"

From the jw.org publications 

9.19.2017

A World Without Prejudice - When? - THE BIBLE HELPED THEM OVERCOME PREJUDICE


Linda:  I was born in South Africa. I viewed any South Africans who were not white as inferior, uneducated and untrustworthy and only as servants for the white people. I was trapped  in a mind-set of prejudice and did not even realize it. That attitude began to change, however, once I started to study the Bible.  I learned that "God is not partial" and that the heart is more important than the color of our skin or the language we speak. (Acts 10:34, 35; Proverbs 17:3) The scripture at Philippians 2:3 helped me to see that if I considered everyone as superior to me,  I would be able to overcome prejudice. Living by Bible principles such as these has helped me to take an interest in others no matter what color skin they have. Now I feel liberated from the cage of prejudice. 

Michael:  I grew up in an area where there were most white Australians, and I developed  a very strong prejudice toward Asians, particularly Chinese. When I was driving in a car and I saw someone who looked Asian, I would roll down the window and yell abusive things, such as "Go home, Asian!"  Later, when  I began to study the Bible, I came to see how God  vies people. He loves them no matter where they are or what they look like.  This love touched me, and my hatred turned into love.  To experience  such a dramatic change is amazing. Now I find great pleasure in associating with people from all backgrounds. This has broadened my  outlook on life and brought me much joy.

Sandra:  My mother was from Umunede in Delta State, Nigeria.  My father's family , however is from Edo State and speaks the Esan language. Because of these differences, my mother was the victim of intense prejudice from my father's family  until the day she died. So I vowed  that I would have nothing to do with anyone who spoke the Esan language and that I would never marry anyone from Edo State. But when I started  to study the Bible, I began to see things  from a different perspective.  Since the Bible  says that God is no partial and that anyone who fears him is acceptable to him, who am I to hate people because of their tribe or language?  I adjusted my thinking and made peace with my father's family.  Applying Bible principles  has made me happy and has given me peace of mind.   It has also helped me to get along with others regardless of their background, race, language or nationality. And the man I married?  He is from Edo State and speaks the Esan language! 

Next time: A World Without Prejudice - When? - GOD'S KINGDOM WILL END ALL PREJUDICE

From the jw.org publications  

A World Without Prejudice -When?


"I HAVE a dream."  Fifty years ago, on August 28, 1963, American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., uttered those words in his most famous speech. Using that captivating refrain, King expressed his dream, or hope, that one day people would enjoy life free from racial prejudice. Though his aspirations were addressed to an audience in the United States, the essence of his dream has been embraced by people in many nations.

Three months after King's speech, on November 20, 1963, over 100 countries adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  Other global initiatives were adopted in the decades that followed.  All such worthy efforts inevitably raise the question, What has been the result?

On March 21, 2012, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated:  "There are many valuable treaties and tools-as well as a comprehensive global framework -to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  Nevertheless, racism continues to cause suffering for mill ions of people around the world."

Even in lands where some progress had been made in combating racial and other forms of prejudice, the question remains:  Have the improvements really rooted out the deep-seated feelings of people or have the merely curbed the outward manifestation of those feelings?  Some believe that at best such improvements only help prevent discrimination but may be powerless at eliminating prejudice. Why so?  Because discrimination is an act that can be seen and punished by law, whereas prejudice is related to people's inner thoughts and emotions, which cannot be easily regulated. 

Therefore, any attempt to eliminate prejudice must not merely curb discriminatory acts but also change a person's thoughts and feelings toward people of another group. Can this really be done?  If so, how? Let us look into a number of real-life cases that will help us see not only that it is possible for people to make a change but also that there is something that can help them do so.  

Next time: A World Without Prejudice - When? -THE BIBLE HELPED THEM OVERCOME PREJUDICE

From the jw.org publications 

Uphold God's Sovereignty! - Conclusion of LOYALLY UPHOLD GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY


Consider an area wherein Christian married couples can support Jehovah's ways and thereby uphold his sovereignty. What if married life proves to be more challenging than expected?  Suppose that it even seems disappointing.  Why not pause to reflect on Jehovah's dealings with Israel. He referred to himself as being like a husband to that ancient nation.  (Isaiah 54:5; 62:4)  What a difficult "marriage" that proved to be!  Yet, Jehovah was not quick to give up on it.  He repeatedly showed mercy toward the nation and loyalty to his covenant with them.  (Read Psalm 106:43-45.) Are we not drawn to Jehovah by such loyal love?

Accordingly, married couples who love Jehovah's ways imitate him.  They do not seek an unscriptural way out  of  a difficult marriage.  They realize that Jehovah has yoked them together and that he wants them to "stick" to each other .  The only Scriptural ground for divorce that might free one to remarry is sexual immorality/adultery. (Matthew 19:5, 6, 9)  By making the best of their situation and even seeking to improve it, they uphold Jehovah's righteous way of ruling.

Being imperfect, we will on occasion do things that disappoint Jehovah.  He knows this and has lovingly made provision for us by means of Christ's ransom.  Thus, when we fall short in some respect, we should ask Jehovah for forgiveness.  (1 John 2:1, 2) Rather than continually berated ourselves, we should endeavor to learn from the mistake. If we stay close to Jehovah, he will forgive us and help us to heal and to handles similar situations successfully in the future. -Psalm 103:3. 

In the new world, all will come under Jehovah's sovereignty and learn his righteous ways.  (Isaiah 11:9) We, however, receive much of that education now. And the settling of the issue of sovereignty is well under way.  Now is the time to uphold God's sovereignty by our integrity, our service, and our earnest endeavors to imitate him in all we do.

Next time: A World Without Prejudice - When?

From the jw.org publications 

9.18.2017

Uphold Jehovah's Sovereignty! - LOYALLY UPHOLD GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY


Surely Jehovah's sovereignty merits our wholehearted support. As we have seen, he has the right to rule, and his way of ruling is the best. we can uphold Jehovah's sovereignty by maintaining our integrity and by serving God faithfully. How else can we show our support? We can do so by doing things Jehovah's way.When we handle matters  as Jehovah would, we show that we love and uphold his way of ruling. - Read Ephesians 5:1, 2. 

We learn from our study of the Bible that Jehovah exercises authority in a loving  manner. In harmony with that, family heads and elders who love his sovereignty will not be demanding, as if exercising a small sovereignty of their own.  Instead, they will imitate Jehovah. Paul was just such an imitator of God and his Son.  (1 Corinthians 11:1)  Paul did not embarrass others or pressure them into taking a desired course of action. Rather, he appealed to them.  (Romans 12:1; Ephesians 4:1; Philemon 8-10)  That is Jehovah's way of handling matters. Thus, that should be the way of all who love and uphold his way of ruling. 

What is our response to divinely authorized headship?  By our respectful cooperation, we show our support for Jehovah's sovereignty. Even if we do not fully understand or agree with a decision, we will still want to support theocratic order.  That is quite different from the way of the world, but it is the way of life under Jehovah's rulership.  (Ephesians 5:22, 23; 6:1-3; Hebrews 13-178) We benefit from doing so, for God has our interests at heart.

We can also show our support of God's sovereignty by our personal decisions. It is not Jehovah's way to provide a specific command  for every situation.  Instead, in guiding us he reveals his thinking.  For example, he does not provide a detailed dress code for Christians. Rather, he reveals his desire that we select types of dress and grooming that show modesty and that befit Christian ministers.  (1 Timothy 2:9-10) He is also concerned   that we do not stumble others or disturb them by our decisions.  (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)  When we guide our steps, not solely by preference, but primarily by Jehovah's thinking and concerns, we show that we love and support his way of ruling. 

Next time: Uphold Jehovah's Sovereignty! -Conclusion of LOYALLY UPHOLD GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY 

From the jw.org publications