“Sword of God”- with Ted R

 

 

Many visiting this site have been Jehovah witnesses, Scientologist, Bible Students or one of the denominations based on the writings or beliefs of one man or set of men. 

How can we avoid these pitfalls again, now that we have managed to get free? One major scripture was misquoted to all Jehovah witnesses for a century: "Who versus Whom"

67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

 

 

 

56 Responses to “Sword of God”- with Ted R

  1. Ted R (Bible Student) says:

    I appreciate Paul’s comments at Romans 14. He talked about some of the disagreements in his day but notice what had to say. Read the whole chapter

  2. jacqueline says:

    TedR, I think this puts into proper words what I was trying to say last night on the BBB conference. Some think we should be careful questioning the doctrines passed down to us or not hold them up to scrutiny. But we should go straight to the Bible and convince ourselves individually with God. Each child talks to their father in human life and my parents had 9 children but each of us had a very personal relationship first then as a family.
    Jehovah and Jesus can deal with each of us and what we are able to understand. These men have used the expression meant to demean and put us down, Independent Thinking.” That is exactly what we should be doing. When it is a woman with insight they add the demeaning expression “Jezebel Spirit” to cut her down.
    Andre makes some good points. We need to see for ourselves what the Bible says about Armageddon, great crowd, Jesus signs, Israel and all subjects and not be afraid to disagree completely with Charles Taze Russell, governing body of the witnesses and it’s elders.
    I for one have dropped this fear of men. Thank you.

  3. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    I like this post from Bro Andre on the Berean Bible Students site:
    Secondhand “Faith”

    Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God (Romans 14:22).

    Many, if not most of those in professing Christendom have secondhand “faith.”

    It can be a wonderful thing when others share their “faith” with us; but sadly much of what many believe was simply passed to them by others, untested and unproven. The only way for faith truly to be ours is for us to go to the Scriptures themselves, to be convinced by them.

    Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15).

    Note carefully Paul’s words, “Study to show thyself …” and earlier, “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God.”

    God has called us into an individual faith before Himself. No one has the right to tell us what to believe, or to provide us with creeds or doctrinal statements. Our faith is to be personal, without constraint, without manipulation.

    Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand (II Corinthians 1:24).

    The walk of faith truly begins with freedom from the bondage of religious dominion, and finds its completion standing alone before God by personal faith. Embrace this true liberty: freedom from religion, to freedom of faith – the freedom to follow your own heart of faith wherever God may lead.

    Being strong in such personal faith is what brings glory to the Father.

    He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God (Romans 4:20).

    Do not settle for secondhand “faith,” for that is not truly faith at all – or at least it is not faith in God and in His Word – it is merely faith in men and their words. We must not merely go on what we have heard, or on our preconceived notions and supposition. God desires us to have a faith all our own, so that we may know and believe first-hand what He has said; for faith is simply taking God at His Word.

    Don’t be caught up in the mimicry of a secondhand “faith.” Dare to believe God and His Word for yourself!

    Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

    The Bible has many scriptures that can be interpreted in different ways, especially when taken out of context. When anyone or any organization insists that others follow their interpretation it leads to strife and division. Do you really believe that Christ did not foresee this? He himself said that he came to cause division! It has been over 2000 years. Many thoughts of the Bible have been misinterpreted due to translation variants and added dogmatic slants and even spurious additions. But one thing remains constant! Our Lord came to save the WORLD from the sin of Adam, that he died for us and was resurrected to the glorious right hand of God. This was the Gospel taught by the Apostles. Disagreements regarding such things as prophecy are really not salvation issues. The TRUTH and details shall be revealed in Gods due time when they are finally fulfilled. Just as the Jews expected Christ to be revealed in a totally different way, I think we too may find that our expectations may not be fulfilled exactly as we think. Is the 144000 in revelation symbolic or literal? Who really is the Faithful and wise servant? Who goes into second death? Who is Gog of Magog? There are many beliefs regarding these questions. There are many conflicting answers to these questions, all with seemingly sound scriptural reasoning. But we really will not KNOW until we actually see the fulfillment. Rather than arguing among ourselves regarding these matters and insisting on our own understanding, we should show the love and unity among each other as Christians. Unless a person manifests a spirit of antichrist, denying the resurrection and salvation of our Lord and putting themselves in his rightful place as head of the Church, we should not judge that persons beliefs. All Christians are at different points in their quest to follow Christ. Paul recognized this when he said not to judge others for eating meat sacrificed to idols or placing one day above another.There were many disputes even in Pauls time. Nowhere does Paul recommend shunning a person for disagreeing regarding these disagreements. Only when a person denies the resurrection or Christ himself do we see any indication that we should cut off that person from association. Even in the case of wrong doing the council is to readjust the sinner but to keep an eye on ourselves so that we do not fall into a sinful course ourselves and freely forgive those who are repentant. We, as Christians do not have the right or power to condemn someone to second death or a fiery Hell! When Christ sits in judgment it is he who will determine who is truly a wicked person incapable of repentance. So let us learn to love one another, forgive one another, be merciful and kind thus showing that we have the Fruit of the Spirit. Doing so we can truly follow the example of Christ and the love and mercy he showed us by his sacrifice on the cross.

  4. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    One of Christ\’s final commands to his followers was that we should be united in LOVE. Love is what identifies us as Christians. Christ taught us not only to love fellow Christians, but also even our enemies, freely forgiving them for their transgressions. One problem I see in Christianity today is the tendency to argue about who is right about some topics and who is wrong. Bickering between different beliefs, especially among those who choose to follow dogmatically the teachings of men on matters subject to interpretation.
    Paul discouraged this: 1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
    13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.)
    Christians are united by there love for Christ and the Gospel of his death and resurrection for the redemption of ALL mankind. We are united in our love for each other. We follow what the Bible clearly spells out for us. Satan has been misleading people for nearly 2000 years. Erroneous teachings and understandings permeate Christianity due to following the teachings of men. As a result, no one religion, no one man, no one organization has the complete truth of Gods Word. Rather than insisting on our own views, or that we blindly follow a man or an organization, we should respect each others love for Christ. We follow Christs example of love and humility. We never want to condemn others who are sincerely trying to follow Christ. It is only when a person commits act contrary to the clear principles set out in Gods word through acts of immorality that we have any part in judging others. (1 Corinthians 15). Even that should be done with love and mercy to help that wrongdoer repent of his course. It should never be so judicial in nature that we go beyond Scripture and hurt others both physically and spiritually, such as a complete shunning and refusal even to pray for that person.
    So let us follow Paul\’s council at Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
    Yes love is what binds us in unity, not dogmatism nor doctrine. Salvation comes from our Lord, Jesus Christ; not man, not an organization, but rather his love for us as our redeemer. We are all part of the body of Christ. Each of us has a different role, just as our body members have a different role. We may not all think exactly the same, but we are unified under Christ. Unity is not Uniformity! I love my wife, we are one flesh, we are in complete unity, but we do not think the same way all the time. We are willing to put up with each others weakness and short comings. This is how those professing to be Christians should be if they truly want to follow Christ\’s example of LOVE, the greatest commandment!

  5. jacqueline says:

    TedR, I just listened to this and discussed with another person. I actually question not so much Russell’s sanity but the men who over 100 years later can’t see the godlike, want to replace Christ,attitude of this man.
    I agree that the watchtower society is from Russell not Rutherford as some are trying to rewrite history. Rutherford actually disliked this haughty attitude displayed by Russell but went on and became the same. Freddie Franz was the exact personna of Russell and he was indeed suffering from a mental illness. He thought he was gifted and his word was law as Russell and his followers now feel.
    There is no difference in Jehovah witnesses governing body and Charles Russell except at least they are alive and not a read person.
    Livingston (Africa), McClintok, Strong,Body just to name a few of the men that left much helpful information for us without claiming to be an angel of Revelation or “ye olde slave” of Matthew.
    I am so glad to have journeyed into the Russell cult so we can now better understand where the governing body got their behavior.
    It is the same game by a different name. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Jacqueline says:

    TedR, I will listen to this from Raymond Franz tonight and comment. Also your other comments. I have been at doctor appointments all day today and have more tomorrow.
    I am getting the best care and have decided to have the doctors treat me now instead of later. See you tomorrow.

  7. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Is this really much different than the attitude today? Notice the information from this commentary from Ray Franz
    https://youtu.be/xA9P-6mQtT8

  8. jacqueline says:

    TedR, some of these brothers actually came to the fojw site many years ago and I see many of them with their own sites and pages. This to me is what therapy and helping are about, not bringing persons into a new religion but to set them free to go to God directly and reach back and help others. I love “Critical thinking” as they have evolved from the first youtube. I had them on this site and I think I will add them back.
    As for other more critical pages, I think they have made the governingbody backed down! Many of these women and men are victims of child sexual abuse and treated like dogs by the watchtower organization. Without their fierce outcry of their pain this giant watchtower society would be worse than it is.
    I have many case files of the judicial committee treatment of some of these victims and the elders and governing nody should be banned and jailed. So unless I have walked a mile in their shoes I can’t condemn them but rather pray they can heal after the stages of grief are complete.
    I am about to see if I can put the BAR library on this site as I subscribed for one year and everyone should be able to use it by clicking here. Working on that now.
    I think now is the time to branch out and get to know what is really in the Bible with all this knowledge. Even ones staying within their perspective religions have freedom now to branch out and learn without fear.
    Some of the local Jehovah witness congregations have elders that are stepping up to the plate and introducing new thoughts and what the internet has allowed us to see. So tell me if you can access the BAR library from your computer when I get it up, please.

  9. Ted R (Bible Student) says:

    Yes Sister Jacqueline. David and Vivian’s videos are very informative. I follow their videos as well as Beroean Pickets and Critical Thinkers. All by exJWs. I like them because they are exposing facts and not just slanderous rhetoric like many YouTube posts.

  10. jacqueline says:

    Ted this couple has more videos following and they are revealing. The root of this whole deception is “Charles Taze Russell” then onward to Rutherford and now the present day governing body which more resembles Russell than the “Russellites” or followers of “Studies in the Scriptures” volumes study.
    I was confused when I studied on Wednesday night out of the volumes that the conductor skipped volume “four” and went to vol. five. I was the only one that protested vocally to him, others did so away from the study and he lost half of his audience. I mentioned this to a Chicago class elder and he said ” I wouldn’t study it with you either”. No explanation when I asked why. Ecclias vote on study material Wednesday conductor said you are not an ecclias just a study group! Like the witnesses he lays out your indoctrination process!
    A man writes a whole volume of “lies” that shouldn’t be studied but his other stuff is “truth”???
    When I looked at it, the pot was calling the kettle black on the friendsofjehovahwitnesses
    site and I was a part of their great deception. I try to look at it as a revealing of a religion that no one knew existed and now we can get to the root of this 19th century deception of putting men in Christs place. I often wonder if Russell didn’t phantom himself as divine??
    I say this because one sister sent to the archives to get the real divorce records of Russell and it revealed he had warrants for refusing to pay his wife her support and other brothers would pay it.
    He went on tours to evade being in the state to be brought to court on warrants.
    He didn’t have big crowds in all those cities, sometimes a few or none. Rutherford put Russell’s wife out of a house they owned together, at Russell’s request. She was making a living by renting out rooms to support herself!
    This sister has a treasure trove of info and you haven’t seen her and other sisters since they became aware of who this man actually was.
    He died in disgrace before decent people for his outlandish 1914 debacle and disregard for law. He phantomed himself as special. I find it strange that a small group still exists with this great devotion to him.
    I often wondered if I was not “born in” would I accept these teachings from a door to door encounter. Now I know my answer is No, I wouldn’t accept one man’s explanation of the Bible over Christ’s words to listen to him and the helper, the Holy Spirit to give understanding. So my sojourn into this American religion was not totally in vain as it got me to Christ. Thanks for your posting.

  11. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Another great video:
    https://youtu.be/llAFZmOPDPo
    Watchtower BLASPHEMY — trust Russell rather than Spirit, Word, prayer (Franz free 39)

  12. jacqueline says:

    Thanks Ted, I met this brother before. Glad to see his group. I will check out what he says. We had many interesting conversations, nice to see him.
    He and I have very similar views but realized it was useless like with the witnesses to explain our views.
    The shunning is called no fellowship of minimum fellowship. Same as witnesses. Apples never fall far from the tree. I wish followers of Russell no ill will as Christ died for all. I just can’t worship a man or a group of men.
    This has been a 70 year journey for me, a captive because of being born into an American religion started by Charles Taze Russell.
    My next 70 is going to be worship of Jehovah and his son Jesus as my saviour.
    Free at last!

  13. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    I found this post on the Berean Bible Student Facebook page from Brother Andre extremely refreshing and in harmony with what I believe.
    https://www.ebbereanos.org/2019/02/the-berean-bible-students-in-brazil.html?fbclid=IwAR00pAWA8FLJ9huu3B3P8IzpqgZtj1wWV0rX3VSni1qlKTmmfj63B5qE4uQ

  14. jacqueline says:

    TedR thanks for posting this I read this in the Bibliography emails.

  15. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:
  16. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Ephesians 4 New International Version (NIV)
    Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
    4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
    11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
    14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
    As Christians we are unified under our Lord Jesus. We must avoid contentions among us. We all serve each other and with the help pf the Holy Spirit we are able to maintain that unity. We never want to insist others accept our personal beliefs and understanding of Scripture. We worship the Father in spirit and truth! Truth does not mean uniformity in understanding. When we worship in truth we are doing so without hypocrisy, not trying to be a friend of the world with its immoral practices. We serve our Father with our whole soul, mind and body, never using the grace of God as an excuse for sin. This is Christian unity! We love and respect each other, doing good toward all, but especially those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Each of us have gifts provided by our helper, the Holy Spirit. We use those gifts to serve others. We examine all things in light of Scripture, not allowing ourselves to be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” following the traditions and philosophies of man,
    Our unity comes from the Scriptures, following the example of our Lord Jesus, putting away all badness, and putting our Lord first in our lives. Thus we become part of the body of Christ and attain the reward of eternal life in Gods kingdom.

  17. jacqueline says:

    Ted, I enjoyed revisiting this scripture and many Christian have to review as we come into conflict.
    One aspect of this deals with perceived conflict, not a tangible like adultery or lying against another. Therein lies the problem.
    We can take away others freedom and border on control if we don’t know the difference in choice and conflict. An employee or executive may decide to pursue another career or the same field on their own. It would be choice not conflict. There may not be anything wrong with their job but they want a change. Immature employers or partners might take offense of the freedom and rights of this individual.
    Application of the above scripture does not apply. This scripture is not to be used to have an argument with your brother or control them to come over to your way. There is no sin commited against a brother but rather the other brother made a choice.
    So this is my take on the back side of this scripture to accept choices made by our brothers and not perceive an offense when they approach their worship to God differently.
    I recently had discussion with my family as my illness has brought us closer. I told them I prefer going to God through Christ with a small study group and it is going well. I said I don’t want to join an organization or association with bodies of elders but prefer where we are all brothers in Christ. It is taking days and many conversations as this is new to those who have been under the strict dogma enforced for over a hundred years.
    Our choice to reject organized religions but not Christ is difficult for the brains of some to adjust especially elders or Pastors as the laity system gives little men more power than they will ever have in a lifetime. So sin vs choice to be free.

  18. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Matthew 7 New International Version (NIV)
    Judging Others
    7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Because of our imperfection, we have a tendency to be judgmental of others. Christ knew this, which is why we have this admonition. We all have faults. We all have sinned, some to a large degree. That is why we need Gods grace! Just because we are Christian does not free us from temptation, and at times we may give in to that temptation. So why be critical of others who, although they are trying to serve our Lord, may fall short and fall into even serious sin. Jesus taught us to be merciful and forgiving, even to our enemies. True, we never want to excuse wrong doing and use the grace of our Lord as an excuse for sin. At the same time we must be careful not to judge others and hold others faults against them. Our judge is Christ! As Christians we make an honest effort to overcome our human weakness and when we fall short we ask our Lord\’s forgiveness, repent, and make an effort not to repeat our sinful conduct.
    If we want others to forgive us, shouldn\’t we be willing to forgive them? Mathew 6:14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
    Someone may have said something to us that hurt. It may have been just a poor choice of words, or it may have been in anger or in judgment. Are we willing to overlook the wrong? Non-Christians have used the imperfections of Christians as an excuse not to serve the Lord, calling us hypocrites. While we always want to set an example and make every effort not to engage in conduct that would bring reproach upon Christ, we are human and we will say or do something that will bring criticism from others. If we do, what is our attitude? Are we humble enough to apologize to someone we may have wronged and ask them for forgiveness? Do we make an honest effort to overcome our weakness? If we are wronged by another, do we follow Christ\’s admonition to go to that person and try to talk with them about the issue? Mathew 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
    Here we see that, while we should be ready to forgive, there may be times when the wrongdoer refuses to show repentance. While we should be forgiving, we are not obliged to maintain a close relationship with an unrepentant sinner. We should however, be willing to forgive if that person shows that he is honestly sorry for what he has done.
    Read Mathew 18:21-35
    Aren\’t we glad that our Lord is willing to forgive us for all the wrongs we have done in our lives? Shouldn\’t we, as his followers, also be willing and ready to forgive? If we are repentant wouldn\’t we want the forgiveness of others? Let us follow Christ\’s example and admonition thus we show ourselves to be true followers of Christ.

  19. jacqueline says:

    TedR, could you give me your thoughts please on this.
    19:8,9. I am limited on copy and paste scripture because of my fingers still stiff.
    But am I seeing here that after Israel is scattered through the world and nations, Vs 8, that they will be burned or holocaust??
    Maybe I am wrong but the Bible foretold the holocaust. Maybe this is another time period? I would appreciate some thoughts from anyone.

  20. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    I came across this YouTube video I found extremely interesting. Thought I would share it.
    https://youtu.be/VI1yRTC6kGE

  21. jacqueline says:

    TedR, I notice also the different approaches those leaving take to express their anger and disgust and I think; “what kind of teachings and abuse have they indured to cause this anger”?
    The pen and video (lol) is mightier than the sword. It at least sends a message to others to not come near an insular group like this and it make save someone from feeling the pain of being forced from your youth upward to hear only one way of understanding the Bible. In this information age it might make others consider the other men that Holy Spirit is helping, their thoughts and views. To realize they too can get understanding directly also from Christ with the help of the Spirit and their just reading what the Bible actually says, not what books say it says.
    I hear their pain when I go on You Tube and feel the courage they must have mustered to reveal these manipulated teachings based on dates and the thoughts of a few men.
    Br. Franz added the powerful support they needed to add to their story.
    God and Christ are listening also and Divine Providence is allowing these voices to speak out. You Tube, what a marvelous invention. Take Care

  22. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    As I look at various YouTube posts and comments on exJW sites I feel so much sorrow. So many of these young people who leave the organization or are disfellowshipped have left the Lord completely. It is understandable, because so many of these young people were raised to believe that the organization is the truth. When the truth is proved false, the feel that all religion is false. They are left with skeptical outlook and bitterness. As a result they turn to drugs, alcohol, and an immoral lifestyle, losing all faith in the Lord. Some have committed suicide as a result of losing the support of their families. While they must share some of the blame, the organization in my opinion has the biggest share. The unjust treatment, and extreme treatment of these poor young people is truly a discredit and blasphemy of our Lord Jesus. Christ said that he who stumbles the least of his children will be under judgment. The organization has become blood guilty!
    Another problem people have when leaving the Organization is that, while they don\’t leave God, they come again under the bondage of other religious organizations. They fail to realize, because they were never taught, that the only truth is the Bible and the only organization is Christ. Faith in the Lord is an individual thing and can only be gained with help of the Holy Spirit and Bible Study, not by following the word of man. We don\’t need organized religion to be close to God. While we look at others writings and interpretations and find it beneficial, we must be like the Boreans, examining the Scriptures to make sure that those interpretations are truly from the Bible.
    Any time we decide to look for a true religion we will be disappointed because there is no one organization that has the complete truth. The best we can do is find others who have a love for the Scriptures and share in Bible Study and association. If we choose to attend a Church we need to be careful not to put our faith in the religions creeds, the pastor, or others interpretations. We need Christian fellowship so associating with people of other denominations can be beneficial, but we must be careful not allow ourselves to be in bondage to those other organizations. Most Churches have some truth and do many things to bring honor to Christ. But never do we want to blindly follow any teachings of man. We must prove for ourselves the Word of God from the Word of God and never rely on the philosophies of man.
    We also need to be careful not to allow our bitterness to cause us to retaliate with slander, lies, or any kind of violence. I look at some of the videos and there is a great deal of this type of behavior. I have no problem with statements of truth exposing the false teachings and injustices of any religion but these should be in the form of reason and backed by Scripture and facts. Any time we distribute lies and half truths we are proving to those still in the organization that the governing body is right when it says apostates are deceptive and liars. Some of the information being distributed is not coming from exJW\’s, but from persons of other religions.
    The Scriptures tell us; \”whatever things are true, whatever things are upbuilding, continue considering these things\”. A Christians goal is to help others come to Christ, using the Bible and sound reasoning. Some, like Critical Thinkers, David Aspinal, and Borean Pickets have great information presented in an informative way, exposing false teachings without slander or stretching the truth. Ray Franz set a great example in this regard. We don\’t need to come across in a mocking, critical way. We just need to tell the truth, backed by Scripture.

  23. Greg says:

    Thank you, Ted.
    For me, Unity is about harmony, and mutual agreement about values and a shared purpose. It’s not about abandoning one’s individuality. Unity is singleness of goal, not singleness of mind, attitude, and methods.
    In my experience, it seems that the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization’s obsession over Unity has to do with fear and an unwillingness to trust that God knew what HE was doing when gave Adam and Eve free will along with a choice. If you’re going to try to stamp out the possibility that people might do something “wrong” then you’re going to feel compelled to assume and then pursue ever-greater control. I believe that’s what JW unity is all about: Control (in a rather thin –albeit arguably effective–disguise).
    Alfie Kohn wrote, “Some who support [more] coercive strategies assume that children will run wild if they are not controlled. However, the children for whom this is true typically turn out to be those accustomed to being controlled— those who are not trusted, given explanations, encouraged to think for themselves, helped to develop and internalize good values, and so on. Control breeds the need for more control, which is used to justify the use of control.” ― Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise and Other Bribes
    One of my favourite fictional lines come from George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm. In chapter 5, the character “Squealer” has been this to say in support the newly self-appointed Commander, Napoleon: “Comrades, I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?…”
    Anyone else see the striking similarity between Orwell’s Napoleon and the Orwellian Governing Body?
    And to save everyone the trouble of looking it up on Wikipedia, I’ll quote it: “Orwellian” is an adjective describing a situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It denotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth (doublethink), and manipulation of the past, including the “unperson”—a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practised by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly Nineteen Eighty-Four but political doublespeak is criticized throughout his work, such as in Politics and the English Language. –From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orwellian

  24. jacqueline says:

    TedR, this is beneficial information. What some elders and organizations call unity of thought is actually conformity to the long held established beliefs, even if these beliefs have been shown not to be in harmony with what is clearly stated in the Bible.
    I found that sometimes what is clearly NOT STATED in the Bible. For instance the Bible does not mention a pyramid in the Bible but it is an over 100yr old misconception of it’s time. Sincere men may have been fascinated by the structure and it’s many marvels but that doesn’t mean you twist a scripture to describe it. And if you do don’t make others have to accept it or suffer a form of shunning and talks. Having catechisms, book of Mormon, Studies in the Scripture, watchtower with unchangeable dogma in books considered holy and on a par with the Bible causes insular religions to behave like tyrants and cults. They all have some truth but the push to make every one think like their self appointed holy men causes you to ignore or not accept or look into what truths they may have.
    So now I glean what I can from other voices and am trying to look freshly at the Bible. The Holy Spirit is really helping me understand just from reading,thinking and comparing to other parts of the bible. It is so uplifting.
    I received a text to join a group to read the Studies in the Scriptures in two years doing 5 pages a day then comment on the Whats app. ( from an elder)
    If it had said 5 pages of the Bible instead of a book that most have gone thru as many as 9 times one person told me, I might have considered it.
    It was a disrespectful request when I have personally said I am doing 66 books.
    I got this from an elder yesterday. It’s as if there is some sense of ownership just like the witnesses if you ever attended their meetings. But in my case worse than the witnesses and they all have one man’s teachings in common. They have built a system of conformity based on the organization He started.

  25. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Unity vs Uniformity
    Ephesians 4 English Standard Version (ESV)
    Unity in the Body of Christ
    4 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ\’s gift.
    Does Christian unity require that all Christians believe exactly the same? Does it require complete uniformity? Whats the difference?
    Notice what this article has to say:
    Unity vs uniformity: which do you mean?
    LIAN KUAL SANG 09 JAN 2012
    \”In my view, uniformity represents the past: dictatorship, societal restrictions and a lack of democracy. It does not accommodate differences in ideas, beliefs, shapes and colors. Instead, it seeks to eliminate all differences, creating a “one size fits all” society. A system of uniformity relies on force to bring about change or to achieve certain objectives. In extreme cases this means using violence to reach a particular goal. One aspect of uniformity is demanding another party change, or conform, in order to achieve agreement, peace or prosperity. Uniformity does not allow for negotiation or compromise.
    In contrast, unity values differences. It acknowledges that people have different religions, cultures and political views. It sends the message that although we may be different in many ways we can work and live together in a way that benefits both of us. Genuine unity is based on democratic values, open mindedness and the concept of multiculturalism. Unity is a nurturing environment where all live side by side harmoniously based on the principles of equality and mutual respect.\”
    Christian Unity does not require everyone believe, act, dress or behave the same. We all have freedom in Christ, unified by our love for God and Jesus.We follow Jesus example, we walk in his footsteps, but this does not require us to give up our Christian freedom to disagree over items that are not plainly spelled out in Scripture or to force others to follow our beliefs. Notice what Ray Franz says in the following two videos:
    https://youtu.be/wy4K_-UP_dM
    https://youtu.be/Y5nWKhS4OHY
    No organization has a God given right to dictate our faith and require complete uniformity. While some order must be established in any organization and there must be some rules, when those rules go against Gods inspired handbook we must, as did the apostles,\”obey God as ruler rather than men\”. Only God and Christ can judge. The Bible is very clear on the established organization for Christians. Christ is the head of the congregation and the head of Christ is God. Christ, as head of the congregation provided only one helper, Holy Spirit! While he did provide for older men to take the lead in providing assistance to weak ones he did not give them the authority to require complete uniformity of doctrine, preaching methods, dress, or conduct. He did not give them authority to put his congregation under restrictive laws and severe punishment, putting \”unity\” over Scripture. Christians have a unity of spirit and love for Christ in harmony with freedom in Christ.

  26. Greg says:

    Thank you once again Ted. I’ve not finished watching the video in it’s entirety yet, but already there are some very thought-provoking things expressed. I always enjoy learning and pondering and reassessing and refining my current beliefs.

  27. Jacqueline says:

    Ted, thank you so much for telling us about the freedom you have found in Christ.
    You men are stepping up and out to show these religious organizations and associations what love looks like.
    The more insular groups that think only of going to heaven for themselves see no need to help others now and that is okay. They can do their part and hopefully not try to stop brothers in Christ like you guys from doing what the Holy Spirit moves you to do. My observation is that Great Babylon today collectively, feeds itself and members by meeting together in groups to talk and exhibit their supposed great knowledge of scripture.
    But to see you guys get your hands dirty so to speak, warms our hearts and that of our God.

    On Christmas, why would anyone not want people to talk about Christ? I have found because they have someone normally in their religious hierarchy that sits in his place as mediator. Someone that you have to filter your petitions and beliefs through first before approaching God.
    I think you are right that the scriptures were written for those that would come with the control of what days and seasons you could observe. God knew about them.
    Thank you so much for giving our readers some thinking material to check out.

  28. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    We are in the Christmas season. As Jehovah’s Witnesses it was considered an act of apostasy to celebrate the birth of our Lord. One reason given was that Dec 25th was not the actual date of Christs birth.Most Bible scholars agree with this. So what was Jesus Birthday? I found this You Tube video that offers a compelling argument I thought I would share. https://youtu.be/ptlsXtTf6n0
    Whether we choose to celebrate Christmas is a matter of conscience. Some of us may choose to celebrate, others do not. Paul tells us not to judge another over the celebration of special days. As long as we do so for the Lord to bring him praise. What matters most is that Christ was born, the angels rejoiced at his birth as should we. Most importantly however is his death, of which there is no doubt as to the day.
    Another compelling argument can be found at this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/jUJUhZEUXa0
    Notice that both arguments make sense but come to different conclusions. Which of these make the most sense to you? Personally I like the first argument.

  29. Ted R (Bible Student) says:

    Correction. The amount of money our small Bible study group raised for Seed net today was $8700. Can anyone truly say that our Lord was not behind our efforts to praise his name and spread the gospel? This money was unsolicited. Donations were anonymous with no pressure.

  30. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    As I visit various churches and talk with others I cant help but feel that true Christians are not an organized religion. True Christianity is a way of life. When Jesus was on earth he preached to the Jews as Gods chosen people. Within those he preached to there were differences in beliefs. While all followed the Law, some believed in the resurrection, the Pharisees, some didn\’t, the Saducees, some were considered apostate by fellow Jews because they worshipped at a different location, the Samaritans. The point is that Christ did not condemn them for these differences. He taught primarily character development. Showing love and mercy to others. He taught that the greatest of the commandments was LOVE of God and of others.
    I attend a mens Bible Study group every Friday morning. There are about 20 of us. Men from different Church denominations. Most of what we discuss is how we can develop our relationship with Christ. Each year this small study group chooses a cause to support. Last year it was to a local grassroots organization called First Glance. The organization works with young people to help them stay off the streets and learn about Christ. They had a building that was in need of extensive repairs or it would be condemned by the city. Our small group contributed voluntarily $15000 to this cause through secret donations. It was just enough to do the repairs needed. Today we support a group called Seed Net. http://goseednet.com/category/video/ . Seednet goes into the worst neighborhoods all over the State and neighboring States and forms in home Church groups. They help those who are considered the lowest of society to come to Christ. One of the leaders was once a drug dealer. He converted to Christianity and now helps others who are hooked on drugs, prostitutes, thieves, and gang members to come to Christ and change their ways. They operate on a shoe string through donations. Today we raised over $1500 for this ministry! This to me is what Christianity is all about. Not adherence to doctrine. Being a Christian is following in Christ\’s footsteps. Christ healed the poor and preached the good news to those who were down trodden and being abused by those religious leaders who put more emphasis on obeying the letter of the Law and went beyond the requirements of the Law, than looking at the intent of the Law. Jesus condemned those religious leaders several times.
    Worshiping the Father with spirit and truth does not mean that we have to follow certain doctrines. It means that we truly believe, in our hearts, that Christ is our Lord and we work each day to follow his example. There reason there is so much arguing among Christians is that everyone has their own interpretation of the \”Truth\”. You must believe what Russell says, what the Governing Body says, what the Pope says, or whatever the local Church says if you want to be saved. No! We must follow Christ\’s example of love and mercy! We truly believe in HIM as our Saviour! We study Gods word with the help of Holy Spirit so that we can come to an understanding of what righteousness truly is. Since putting behind me the requirements of a man made organization, I have seen more true Christianity being shown by people I once thought of as worldly than I ever did as a Jehovah\’s Witness. The above experience is just a small sample of true Christianity at work.
    There are true Christians in every religion just as there are those who have a form of Godly devotion, they go to Church and profess Christianity, but they prove false to the power of Holy Spirit by their actions and way of life. The gospel taught by Jesus and the early Christians was simple: Believe that Jesus is our Lord and savior, that he gave his life as a ransom for all that we can be redeemed from the sin of Adam, and was resurrected to the right hand of God as our King and mediator. If we truly believe this, then by our actions and the faith we show, then we will have the promised reward. If we do sin and fall short, which we all do, then we have the GRACE, undeserved kindness, of our Lord who forgives in a very large way!

  31. Greg says:

    Even more impressive, Ted. Kudos!!

  32. Ted R. Bible Student says:

    It took two drafts and about an hour of research.

  33. Greg says:

    I think that’s an Excellent Directive, Ted. I love how you stated everything.
    Thanks for posting it here where it can be of use to others.

    Just curious, how long it did it take for you write that? How many drafts, edits and revisions? It would probably have taken me a month or longer before I could come up with something that satisfied me the way your directive satisfies me. 🙂

  34. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Because I am still not disfellowshipped or disassociated at this time and I have family that are still with the organization I prepared my own Advance Directive on the use of blood. I want my family to know my stand if this ever becomes necessary. I gave a copy to my son, I keep a copy in a sealed envelope in my glove compartment. While this might not keep me from being considered disassociated, I feel it may give an attorney ammunition in court, since it specifically says that my stand should not be considered a desire to disassociate. Here is my Advanced Directive:

    Advance Directive on the Use of Blood
    This directive is for my family and any involved medical or legal personnel. For many years I have been a Jehovah’s Witness and thus had a directive refusing the use of Blood to save my life. I am hereby revoking that directive.
    After carefully evaluating the scriptures on this matter I see no Scriptural evidence precluding the use of blood transfusions to save a life. I am very aware of the Scriptures used by the Jehovah’s Witness’s to support their stand however a careful examination shows that these scriptures are being misapplied. The scriptures in the Old Testament contained in the Law Covenant are dealing primarily with the blood of sacrificed animals and animals killed for food. Because of the taking of the life of said animals, and the fact that the life of the animal is in the blood, that blood was poured out on the ground out of respect for that life. In the case of blood transfusion, no life is taken but rather a life can be saved using a blood transfusion. All it takes is to look at the loving and compassionate way Jesus dealt with people who violated the Mosaic law in their day, from the marginalized by society, the sick and sinful people. Jesus openly showed that the life and health of people was more important than obeying the “letter of the law.” He himself quoted Scripture when he said, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9: 10-13; 12: 1-7).
    Jesus applied what is still a rabbinic tradition, called pikuach nefesh. The Jewish rabbinical concept pikuach nefesh, is a millenary concept that defends the value or sanctity of human life above any religious tradition or doctrine. According to this concept, a life must be preserved at all costs, and it is therefore the obligation of a Jew to save his life or that of another, even if he must violate a religious law or command. For example, if someone is in danger of life, applying the pikuach nefesh means, for example, violating the Sabbath so that this life is saved, perhaps traveling by car that day to take the victim or patient to the hospital. It also enables, for example, a Jew to eat food that is not kosher if his health or life depends on it. It’s also pertinent to realize that, while continuing to follow the Mosaic Law including the commandments regarding blood, Jews are allowed to receive blood transfusions. There are therefore no Jewish religious groups, even the strictest, that prohibit blood transfusions. Thus, the preservation of life prevails over the observance of Mosaic Law: a principle known as pikuach nefesh. Similarly, Muslims are also prohibited from drinking or eating blood and blood products (haram), but transfusions are allowed to save their lives.
    It is also noted that no specific punishment was prescribed for the Jew who ate the flesh of dead animals containing blood in the Hebrew Scriptures. The person who did this would only have to “wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening,” as in the case of the Israelite, who would touch or carry an animal that had died by itself. (Lev 11:39, 40). The whole prohibition of blood in the Old Testament refers specifically to the blood of animals that were killed by humans, being an expression of the sanctity of life. Life is precious to Jehovah!
    In the New Testament the mandate regarding eating of blood again was dealing with the eating of blood of sacrificed animals and animals killed for food. In that time the newly converted Gentiles were questioning whether they should eat the sacrificed and unclean animals. Also, it was common for gentiles to drink blood as part of their diet. This was supposed to impart strength and health to the person drinking that blood. The Jewish Christians were trying to impose the Law covenant on the Gentile Christians, including such things as circumcision. Thus the matter went to the brothers in Jerusalem, where most of the apostles were as well as many Jewish Christian elders, in order to settle the matter. The issue was whether the Gentile Christians had to accept the Law of Moses, including the Law on blood. Out of respect for life and realizing that that Law went beyond Moses back to Noah the Apostles and older men upheld that mandate of not eating blood. When Noah came out of the Ark, God permitted the eating of meat. Out of respect for the life taken Noah was commanded to drain the life blood. Again, we see that a life was taken and the mandate on blood dealt with showing proper respect for that life. Refusing a Blood transfusion involves the unnecessary loss of life, thus showing disrespect for Life.
    Therefore, out of respect for my God given life, my love for Jehovah God and his son Jesus I have decided while in sound mind and while not under any pressure, that I will accept a Blood Transfusion if it means saving my life. I ask that my family respect my decision in this regard. I am in no way renouncing my relationship with Jehovah. I dedicated my life to serve Jehovah and his son Christ Jesus, therefore when I see a discrepancy between Gods law and mans, I must follow the example of the Apostles and obey God as ruler rather than man. Jesus himself condemned the religious leaders of his day for going beyond Scripture and imposing uncalled for burdens on the people. In this regard it is my honest conclusion based on scripture that blood transfusions are acceptable in the eyes of our Lord Jesus and his Father Jehovah God! Since life is precious to the Lord, I must in good conscience take any means necessary to preserve that life as long as there is reasonable hope! Please respect my view as I will respect yours!
    No one should be compelled to worship God in a way that he finds unacceptable or to choose between religion and family.” – Awake! July 2009, p. 29

    Signed ________________________________________

  35. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    John 15 New International Version (NIV)
    The Vine and the Branches
    15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 REMAIN IN ME, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you REMAIN IN ME
    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you REMAIN IN ME and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not REMAIN IN ME, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you REMAIN IN ME and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

    9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now REMAIN IN MY LOVE. 10 If you keep my commands, you will REMAIN IN MY LOVE, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and REMAIN IN HIS LOVE 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

    I thought it interesting the number of times in these few verses the exhortation to \\\”remain in me\\\” or remain in my love\\\”. Some religions teach that once saved always saved. That all you have to do is claim to believe and you will be saved. So why is Jesus exhorting his disciples to \\\”remain in me\\\”. In fact he says: 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. So it is possible for a true Christian to fall away and lose Gods favor.
    Another interesting point! Notice that Christ separates himself from God! \\\”I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.\\\” 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you\\\” \\\”I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.\\\” \\\”everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.\\\” \\\” whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you\\\”
    So according to a Jesus own words he is not GOD!
    What does it take remain in Christ?
    Jesus answers: \\\”10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love,\\\” \\\” My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.\\\” \\\”17 This is my command: Love each other.\\\”
    Yes if we are to remain in Gods favor then our love should be manifest to all! We should be willing to give our lives for others, just as Christ did for us!
    If we are remaining in Christ, we have been grafted into the fig tree of Gods people! We share in the hope and promise Christ gave us! The promise of being with Christ during his millennial reign either as part of the Great multitude or as part of Christs Bride! I feel that Christ will choose his bride from among those who have been faithful to death and have undergone extreme persecution, even death, in his service! That does not mean that we who may not be chosen are inferior Christians! Not everyone can come in first place in a race! But as Christians we are all in the race. All we have to do is cross the finish line faithful to our dedication to serve him.
    I made the dedication to serve our Lord nearly 50 years ago! I renewed that dedication and consecration almost two years ago! My hope is to be found worthy to win the reward. My hope is to remain in the love of Christ and his father Jehovah! But I leave everything in the hands of our judge, Jesus Christ.
    All of us have been chosen by Christ, drawn to him by Holy Spirit! We show our appreciation by our life course, our faith, our love, and as a result of that faith and love for Christ, we bear fruit according to our ability.
    \\\”John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. \\\”
    16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

  36. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    That’s my point Br Greg. If you have a cause that you really believe in you will work tirelessly for that cause. The same is true if we profess to believe in Christ! If we truly believe then our whole life should reflect that belief. Anything else is lip service. That is the difference between true Christians and nominal Christians. While both receive a reward for their faithfulness, those who are truly working hard to serve Christ, according to their circumstances and take up the cross of Christ will be blessed with a heavenly hope should Christ judge us worthy. No man, however can make that judgment, only the one who reads our hearts and motives. Any one can say I believe in Christ. But do they really mean it? Faith and Belief go together. They help provide a firm foundation as we try to make adjustments in our lives to serve our Lord Jesus. From there we await our master when his day of judgment comes.

  37. Greg says:

    Ted, and Jacqueline,
    I really appreciate the insightful words and comments here. I’ve long “believed” that we don’t speak sufficiently clear when we use the words faith and belief. We often don’t adequately finish the thoughts “I believe…” or “I have faith…” I always find myself wondering, “… in what?”
    Even to say, “I believe in Jesus,” seems to me be confusing, incomplete. “…in what? That he lived? That he truly was God’s son? That lots of people claim to follow him?” It’s totally possible that I could say the words I believe in Jesus and simply mean, “that for a mythical figure, he’s sure gotten a lot of publicity?”
    What EXACTLY is it I believe about Jesus? What exactly is I have faith in?
    And Watchtower never helped either. They toss around the words faith and belief and demand you just have them as if you simply draw beliefs out of a hat. Like deciding to wear my blue shirt today. OK, the I believe in Governing Body. Why? Because they said I must. OK, so I believe they exist, and that they believe they are God’s Authorized Spokespersons. See what I mean? WHAT EXACTLY is it I’m expressing about my beliefs and faith. To me those words are often unfinished sentences, and whenever I hear them used, I’m usually left wondering, “What’s the rest of the story? I need more information.”

  38. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    I agree Sr Jacqueline. Faith and true belief go hand in hand. Without faith a person cannot truly believe. There is a difference in believing something or someone existed, even Satan believes. There are millions of people out there that says the believe in Christ or God. But saying you believe and truly believing are two different things. Hitler claimed belief in Christ but what did his actions show? He murdered thousands of Jews in the name of Christ with the full sanction of the Catholic Church! He had a belief in Christ but failed to recognize the attributes of Christ and apply them in his life. How many people do we know that claim to be Christian, even go to Church on Sunday, yet by their actions show otherwise. Why, because they lack true faith and belief in Christ!
    When we truly believe in Christ we believe and have faith in him and try our best to follow his footsteps. We work hard to develop Christlike qualities. Love for others, mercy, forgiveness, and a true desire to help others. True belief requires FAITH. Faith requires belief. From there comes action. We walk a Christian walk. Others can see that we are truly different by our words and mostly, by our actions! It is this type of belief and faith that will help us win the fine fight and gain the prize of eternal life along side of our Lord and have a share in the first resurrection to a heavenly reward.
    But we do have a wonderful God! For those who may fall short of the race, he promises a resurrection of those both just and unjust, here on earth. A complete restoration of the earth free from Satan’s influence.
    This is the hope of the majority of mankind. Those who are faithful will have the wonderful blessing of eternal life on earth promised in Scriptures.
    So what must we do? First we come to believe that Christ was messiah and the son of God. We then begin to develop faith which strengthens our belief. As we strengthen or belief and faith we begin to take action, making changes in our life and striving to develop the fruit of the Spirit. We do this with the help of our great mediator, Jesus, and the helper he so lovingly provided, the Holy Spirit!
    Who will ultimately gain the heavenly reward? Only God and Christ knows, for they are our judge! Only they can read our hearts and motives. But whether our reward is earthly or heavenly our desire should be follow in the footsteps of Christ and grow in faith and belief

  39. jacqueline says:

    Hi Ted, I have learned now that Jesus is very accurate when he says something.
    I put this scripture in the age to come, not now. Everyone will know Jesus and can believe in him and even tho they died they can learn, believe and live. Belief is all that is needed then because no faith. Faith is for unseen things but if we put this scripture in the correct time frame it is easy to understand.
    I am learning Jesus always spoke frankly with his disciples and precisely.
    As you stated Christians with faith now in this age can get a better resurrection and by virtue of their FAITH have righteousness reckoned to them because they obeyed without a reality but on faith. Millennium just requires they believe because they see him and his blessings. My take on that scripture.

  40. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    John 11:25 New International Version (NIV)
    25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

    What does it mean to “believe” in Christ? Many people profess to believe in Christ. It’s any easy thing to say. How many people do we know who claim to be Christian but by their actions, and attitude “prove false to it’s power” ( 2 Timothy 3). If we truly believe in Christ it will be evident in our actions! It will effect every facet of our daily life!
    The True Definition of Belief. … It is the power of belief that causes things to happen in our lives. Most people define beliefs as inward convictions, a feeling of certainty about what something means. They are what you hold dear and are rooted deeply within. A belief is both mental and emotional.
    The True Definition of Belief | Ty Bennett
    https://tybennett.com/the-true-definition-of-belief/
    Belief means to put full trust and confidence in someone or something! If we are to be true Christians we know, beyond any doubt, that Christ gave his life for us! We will be willing to give up our lives rather than compromise our belief and faith in Christ!
    Many Churches teach that all you have to do is believe in the Lord and be saved, and that once you are saved you are always saved! Yet even the Apostle Paul was concerned that he would be disapproved somehow! Being a true Christian we walk a narrow path. True Christians truly are a little flock when compared to the billions of mankind who do not follow Jesus and truly believe in him! The reward for TRUE Christians is to be with him as part of his Kingdom in heaven. The rest of mankind who are sincere and striving to be good people will have an earthly inheritance. Christ gave his life as a ransom for ALL! All people will have an equal opportunity when Christ returns and his Kingdom finally comes, “on earth as it is in heaven”. An opportunity for everlasting life! We can all look forward to that wonderful reward whether it is in heaven or on earth. But for the heavenly reward we must truly believe that Christ is our Lord and King. That he died for us! And we show by our actions that we will be ready to take up our cross and die for him! It makes no difference what denomination we profess! The Kingdom is in our hearts, our innermost being, with full faith and belief in Christ! We look forward to our Lords return and his righteous judgment. Happy are those found worthy of the first resurrection to be in heaven with Christ! To be found worthy we must truly BELIEVE!

  41. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Another point from todays Scripture. Jehovah’s Witnesses use the scripture at Heb 12 :11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
    as justification for their disfellowshiping practice, saying that disfellowshipping is discipline from our God! Reading the context we see that is not so! Discipline comes from God, not an organization! Only God can truly discipline in righteousness! To turn against our children at a time when they really need their family the most shows a total lack of understanding the love and mercy our God shows us. True, there may be times when we have to exercise tough love as parents. But that is based on extreme circumstance and should never be dictated by an organization in the name of our loving heavenly father.

  42. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    God Disciplines His Children
    Heb 12:4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

    “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
    6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

    7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

    Because we are imperfect we sin every day. Often that sin leads to hardships. Do we accept those hardships as discipline from our Lord? When we were growing up we often had to be disciplined by our parents, sometimes painfully. But did we hate our parents? No, at least not most of us! We realized that our parents loved us and we learned to respect them. If we go through hardships, do we blame God and turn against him? Some have! But if we are true Children of God we accept the hardships we face, realizing that in doing so we are fine tuning our life course. Heb 12:11 says No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. None of us has had to suffer as our dear Lord suffered, at least not yet. Many though have suffered even to death! Yes we are surrounded by a great cloud of Witnesses who throughout history have endured even to death. But death is just temporary! We have a far grander future ahead of us! As Gods children he rewards us for our faithfulness, just as we reward our children when they are obedient. Our reward is eternal life, with our Lord Jesus who sits at Gods right hand! So when undergoing trials remember the words at Heb 12:14
    Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
    Yes not let bitterness dwell in our hearts and turn against God! Learn from our trials and hardships!
    Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
    28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.

  43. jacqueline says:

    TedR thank you for this thoughtful scripture for the day. I read it as I sat waiting in a car with family as the men talked.
    The very first words struck me. To keep our minds on Jesu who sits at the right hand of God.
    Do elders and governing body members see this? How can people point you to any man or body of men?
    Jesus said what is truth? He says I am the way the truth and the light, your word is Truth, yet brothers will say we have the truth and when I found the truth, anyone with a Bible has the Word of Truth in their hand.

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

    TedR finally I have found the truth. I can freely read and be confident with what the Holy Spirit reveals to me. When I speak with others, just today, we came to many conclusions on scripture as a family with the thoughts of another man or men.
    The Holy Spirit does not have any more respect of a person in helping them as Christians and even before a person finds him the Holy Spirit will help them understand what they are reading. Jesus promised it.
    Great thought for the day. Thanks

  44. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Colossians 3 New International Version (NIV)
    Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
    3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

    12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

    15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    So much good information here in Colossians! It is these thing that our salvation and reward hinges upon. Doing these things to the best our imperfect flesh will allow! As people who have chosen to follow in Christs footsteps we have a wonderful heavenly reward. Whether or not we will be chosen to rule as part of Christ Bride, only our Lord knows. All we can do is our best in this life! Jehovah’s Witness’s and some Bible Students would have us believe that the high heavenly calling is completed. Where is that in Scripture? Are we all just second class Christians? All of us who follow Christ are promised are promised this heavenly reward! Will be be chosen as Christ Bride to rule with him? Only he has the right to make that determination! All we can do is follow the council above! The Apostles were constantly arguing about who would be greatest. What did Jesus tell them: Mark 9:33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
    35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
    We do not have the right to determine who will be part of that Bride! We are Christians! Footstep followers of Christ! Let us stop arguing about matters better left to our Lord! Stop judging others! Stop exalting ourselves! Let each of us humbly walk our Christian walk and do our utmost to obey our Lord! It is the Master who gives the reward, not the servant!

  45. jacqueline says:

    Ted, I needed the scripture about the worship of angels. I tried to explain that I couldn’t accept the Laodicean angel as someone to worship or give undue adoration to, this scripture would have helped. I knew the Catholic church did this but had never really noticed it in most religions but it must have been prevalent or the Apostle wouldn’t have mentioned it, thanks. Not “going beyond what is written” certainly applies with all the types and antitypes that cause people to make all kinds of assumptions and then plunge those not accepting this into second death, another going beyond what is written.
    So glad to know we have been set free to worship God personally and with others in groups small and large without letting an organized system of worship dictate it’s long held beliefs.

  46. Ted R. (Bible Student) says:

    Do these Scriptures remind you of any particular organization? Paul here was address some false teachings that infiltrated the Colossian ecclesia. But don’t we see such teachings going on today? Don’t celebrate certain Holy days! Don’t we see false humility, and going beyond things written, using hollow and deceptive philosophy by twisting scripture? Yes these things were going on in Paul’s day with the early congregations so why should we be surprised to see it today! Never do we want to go beyond the things written!
    Colossians 2
    8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.
    16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
    20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

  47. jacqueline says:

    Great questions maybe we can discuss them. I am on the BBB with Greg signed in but I am painting a room and need about 30 more minutes to finish so I and others will look at this. I had you whitelisted but I see it says they won’t start applying until 11/21. I need to get this thing cleared so you don’t wait in moderation. See you in a bit

  48. Marjo says:

    Jacqueline I have used https://biblehub.com to see different Bible versions also. I’ve seen that Christian Standard Bible sounds same with Finnish translation I am using. I found an interesting Bible verse from

    Hebrews 4: 7 he again specifies a certain day– today. He specified this speaking through David after such a long time: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.

    Specify what? He means today you have to hear His word and don’t harden your heart over and over again. At first, I was thinking could he mean to specify the day of Armageddon? But I think He meant that you have to believe NOW today when you hear His word.

    And another interesting verse in Hebrews 4: 3 For we who have believed enter the rest, in keeping with what he has said, So I swore in my anger, “They will not enter my rest,” even though his works have been finished since the foundation of the world.

    In the Finnish version, it sounds like “in the promised land of the rest”. Is there another world we don’t know about? Also, the Bible is talking about the third heavens. Also, this made my mind another question, that when a person dies does their soul go to that promised land of the rest?. I don’t think it means gehenna, because God is in that promised land of the rest.

  49. jacqueline says:

    Marjo I use this internet site so I can see different translations: https://www.biblegateway.com/
    I own about 20 or more translations and I have the eight translation, here is a link to how it looks: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3661453-holy-bible

    The NIV was composed to correct the witnesses New world translation and therefore while easy, it sometimes goes too far in fighting them I think.
    I sometimes use the KJV because it has errors but wasn’t competing with anyone.
    My favorite in the New American Standard Version then Rotherham and Youngs. There are internet sites that will give you many sides by side renderings also. Take Care.

  50. Marjo says:

    Hello Ted and Jacqueline

    I also agree for the meetings with small groups.
    Yeshua Christ said in Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    I bought myself KJV english version 1979. What do you think what has been the best translation so far?

  51. Ted R says:

    It’s always good to meet together in Christian bond. The early Christians did so. I personally like smaller groups. It makes for a more intimate, personal exchange of love and encouragement. I am able to drive and would love to have a meet up sometime with our group, you and Henry and anyone else that lives close enough by. The one thing I miss is the association with friends. I consider you and Henry my friends. The Scriptures tell us not to forsake meeting together, that where two or more are gathered Christ will be there with us. Meeting online is nice but it’s just not the same.
    I will put together some scriptural topics with Scriptures on some subjects to post them here if you would like. I will try to be on the meeting tomorrow night.
    Christian Love

  52. jacqueline says:

    Ted, I found scriptures that to me say meeting in small groups and coming together at times in bigger one for upbuilding is okay: Just scriptures.
    So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart. – Acts 2:46

    And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. – Acts 5:42

    . . . he came to the house of Mary . . . where many were gathered together praying. – Acts 12:12

    Likewise, greet the church that is in their house. – Romans 16:5

    Gaius, my host and the host of the whole church, greets you. – Romans 16:23

    Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. – 1 Corinthians 16:19

    Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house. – Colossians 4:15

    To Philemon our beloved friend . . . and to the church in your house.- Philemon 1-2

  53. jacqueline says:

    Let me go tell Henry to come on and speak with you. Both of you have a lot in common. Perhaps you two can meet in the BBB or talk on the phone?

  54. Ted R says:

    You are right, it is to WHOM we go to not where! There is no one organization to go to. I believe that our aim is to follow in the footsteps of Christ. While we can certainly gain knowledge from others interpretations of Scripture, we must make the truth our own, studying the Bible and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us. No one religion has a complete truth. If we follow Christ with our whole soul mind and heart and rely on him, we have his blessing and the reward he has promised. I hope we can meet soon. I wish I could speak freely on our meetings. Tell Br Henry I am thinking about him. We share a lot in common.

  55. jacqueline says:

    Example of how we can tell what we got from just Bible only:
    I understand from just reading scriptures that Jesus gave up his right to inherit his father home in Nazareth, as firstborn (they constantly tried to kill him there). He didn’t buy another one because he often slept on the Mount of Olive and we see him at Peter’s home and many others homes. He put complete trust in God to sustain him.
    Life lesson: Do God’s will and he will have your back, just considering scriptures only.

    Luke 21:37 “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.”

    Luke 9:58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
    Matthew 19:29
    “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
    Matt.8:14 14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

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