1 John 3:1a. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
Today, my devotions began with Luke 22:42, where Jesus was in the garden of Gesthemany. Three times, he asked Father God to let the cup of suffering pass by… if there was any other way… for us to be reconciled to the Father. Cara Whitney compares this to barn chores in the cold mid-winter. It’s not quite as extreme, but you get the picture.
Meditate on These Things Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
In Uta’s devotional, the Lord called her His child. He watches for His children to think or do these things listed in Philippians 8. It brings him joy when we do. He has a deep interest in each of us; each one of us is his precious child. His longing to be with you draws you back to him when you stray.
His heart hurts with you in your trials… not because he lacks hope, but because he longs for his hope to be in you. What a wonderful Father God we have! He loves it when we love him back, with all our heart, soul, and strength. When your heart is tender towards him and we receive all that he has for you, that’s the best!
May we grow deeper in our understanding of how greatly we are loved. Let this understanding overflow and pour out on those we encounter. This is no time to shrink back and cocoon, stewing in our own affairs. God is on the move! As the Moravians say, “Our Lamb has conquered let us follow him.”
John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
I am subscribed to T.R. Nobel’s blog: http://www.nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, and on April 25, 2022, she shared the following imbedded video. Melissa Dougherty is creating a series on Jehovah’s Witnesses, explaining how to understand, love, and speak truth to them. I also recommend her short 16-minute video: The Time A Chrisitan Visited a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall. T.R. Nobel shares on her blog questions to look at that go along with the following video.
Forgive me for being absent for a few weeks, we took a two-week break at our daughter’s home in Los Angeles, and after a bout of COVID, we ended our trip with a long stay at both JFK and Boston airports which made our return trip twice as long as we expected. We hit the ground running with a busy schedule and this is the first time I’ve had to catch my breath. This blog and videos hit home for me because I studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses for a short time as a young mother and new believer in Jesus. I share that story with you now.
A cousin of mine was addicted to drugs. While in drug rehab, he was visited by some Jehovah’s Witness members who helped him recover. He fell in love with the daughter of one of the leaders, they married and then went to NYC to work at The Watch Tower. My aunt was just glad to have him off drugs.
In the fall of 1983, we moved into the village of Lowville with our daughter 20 months old and our son three months. For the first time in our short married life, we got cable TV and I was able to watch my first episode of The 700 Club. Growing up in a Presbyterian church, we did not talk about ‘being born again’, but this show explained it and each episode ended with Ben Kinchlow leading us in ‘The Sinner’s Prayer’. I began repeating it with him on Monday, then each day until on Friday, Ben noted, “You may not feel anything different, but if you said this prayer, believe God heard you.” A light went on in my head and heart and I realized I had to take salvation by faith.
About a month later, a couple of grandparent-ish Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up at my door with a briefcase filled with books and papers. The woman remarked on my young ones and asked if I’d like to have her do a Bible study in my home. I had been going to the first Bible study our new Pastor had started on the Book of Revelation at church on Thursday evenings. It was hard to get out with my babies, and I knew my cousin was Jehovah’s Witness and I didn’t know much about it, so I said yes.
She came in with a benign looking book which I think had Adam and Eve in the garden on the cover done in sepia tones. It was like an older child’s story book. She would sit at our kitchen table as I was feeding my children breakfast and we read the book and did the questions together. She quickly taught me their beliefs that you cannot pray to God and to Jesus or that’s praying to two Gods. Also, Easter, Christmas, the cross… were all pagan celebrations and symbols. Easter was Estrus, Christmas was a Druid mid-winter festival, Jesus died on a stake, not a cross and because of the verse that says:
Matthew 24:19But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
… you should not have children or not many. My cousin and his wife have never had a child. Very sad for my aunt! Oh, one day I was at Mom’s house when my aunt was there, she told me not to fool with the Jehovah’s Witnesses unless I was really serious about it. Next…
Leviticus 17:11a. For the life of the flesh isin the blood…
Because of this Scripture, they believe you should not donate your blood. I marveled, with a bit of disgruntlement, that my young daughter could easily answer the questions in the readings we were doing. I also threw away my blood donor card and the fancy cross necklace I’d been given from my church. I came under a fear that if I didn’t come under the Watch Tower, the end was near, and I would not be saved. The woman invited me to a sledding party they were hosting, and I seriously thought of going to their Kingdom Hall. As a new believer in Jesus, I had not begun Bible reading on my own and did not know how to speak about my salvation and had no idea what it all meant.
I began to back off from wanting them to come into my home. The day they walked in to see I had put up a Christmas tree and was noticeably pregnant with our third child, she was not happy with me. Shortly after this we moved to the other end of town, and I did not tell her our new address. The Adirondack Home News, a free weekly paper, came into our new apartment. Looking through the classifieds, I saw an ad, “Are you involved with Jehovah’s Witnesses? Do you need help? Call Cheryl ‘555-666-8888′” I cut that ad out and never saw it in the paper again, but a few weeks later I got up courage to call the number and Cheryl answered. She said she’d love to come visit me and we’d talk. She came a few days later and gave me some cassette tapes that talked about abuses JW’s had done and told me her story and encouraged me in my young motherhood. She said she had hated going door-to-door and prayed no one would be at home when she had to knock. She gave me a couple of Scriptures that are supposed to speak truth to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I used them the next time the couple came (yes, a kind neighbor near our old apartment told her where we’d moved). After telling her these things, she finally quit coming to my house.
I got into a good Bible believing and teaching, Spirit led church soon after and spent years trying to search out what the Jehovah’s Witnesses had taught me to see which things were true and which were not and what really mattered as far as truth in Jesus. Yes, we need to have a firm handle on what we believe and why. Even the Bible says that zeal without knowledge is no good. Remember, God’s will is that none should perish, so we need to love people that have been deceived like this and share truth with them. In the 16 minute video above, Melissa shares clips of former Jehovah’s Witnesses that were never told the truth by any Christian. We need to learn how to lovingly share truth with those who are hurting like this. There are kernels of truth in each cult/false teaching. As they do, we should be witnessing to people in Jesus’ name and living a godly life that shows our faith. Yes, it is biblical to go out two by two.
When I began attending Airport Chrisitan Fellowship Church in Dexter, I found out that Cheryl, the woman who came out of JW’s, had been part of that church when it was called Dexter Faith Fellowship. What a small world it is, especially if you are connected in Christ! I leave you with an amazing sunset I captured through a friend’s window last evening.