You can laugh in any language and it will be understood. If you can laugh at it, you can live with it. Laughter is to life what salt is to an egg. Laughter is the cheapest luxury man has. It stirs up the blood, expands the chest, electrifies the nerves, clears away the cobwebs from the brain, and gives the whole system a cleaning rehabilitation. So keep laughing!
Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. (http://www.azquotes.com)
When choosing the load for the trip, the lazy one quickly grabbed the light load, and his friend was left with the heavy load. On the way, a severe storm broke out, and the one that took the light load was blown away by the strong winds, while the one with the heavy burden stood firm on the ground because of the weight he was carrying. Lesson? Spiritual laziness takes a toll when strong winds come our way. We need to be industrious and self-sacrificing to endure.
Hebrews 5:8- Jesus learned obedience from suffering. That was when he was already billions of years old. We are probably only a few decades old, so we can continue learning, even from bad experiences.
The footnote in the Reference Bible in 1 Peter 5:8 reads “Lit., to drink down.” So the devil is trying to drink us down. How can one drink something solid? You put it in a blender and make a smoothie out of it. Sadly, in a manner of speaking, that has occurred to some that have left Jehovah. Some that used to be in the congregation with us have been put into the devil's blender, and their spirituality has been triturated and emulsified to the point of being practically unrecognizable. Now we see them in the world, and they look like they never knew Jehovah at all.
Certain young sister was doing very well in the truth, so good that her young friends used to refer to her as a five-star sister. Sadly, though, she started to have bad associations and to live a double life. She had two different set of clothing, one as a Witness and one for her worldly life. Eventually, she left Jehovah. She got into a relationship with a man that was a drug user, and she even financed his bad habit supposedly out of love. After a horrible experience in the world, she recovered spiritually and returned to Jehovah. Her family and all in the congregation welcomed her with open arms. But her journey in and out of the truth had dire consequences. Regrettably, she found out that her former boyfriend had AIDS. Soon after he died. Her worst fears came true; she was also diagnosed with AIDS. Unfortunately, she also died. She had the hope of the resurrection, and she cleaned her ways. But that didn’t free her from the consequences of her actions. We should never leave our beloved heavenly Father. (Ps 73:27)
A Shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, 'Wolf! Wolf!' and when his neighbors came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: 'Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep'; but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock. Lesson? People don't believe in a liar, even when he speaks the truth. (http://fablesofaesop.com)
When the widow dropped the two coins of little value, Jesus didn't say: stop don't do that! This temple is going to be destroyed soon, that's a waste! A comment like that would have been technically correct. And it would have been practical because she was giving everything she had. Why didn't he say that? Because the widow's motive was to give wholeheartedly to Jehovah. And Jehovah accepted that. This illustrates a vital truth. Many of our brothers and sisters have dedicated their lives to God with the hope of seeing the end coming during their lifetime. In the early 20th century some thought millions living at that time would never taste death at all. But the end didn't come. They passed away, so did all those people they preached to. Our understanding of the truth has been refined through the years. Does that mean these friends wasted their lives believing and entertaining false expectations? Absolutely not! Why? Because they just wanted to serve Jehovah wholeheartedly, and He accepted their sacrifices as sacred service. They stored treasures in heaven. And their witness had a purpose: they praised God's name and worked out their own salvation. (Philippians 2:12)
Would you use a beautiful hand-crafted vase as a garbage can? Likewise, our life, more valuable than any material thing, should be used in a clean and honorable way.
A landscape artist does not always stand at an arm's length from his canvas. He must not limit his attention to the isolated details of what he is doing. Occasionally he steps back to view his work from a distance. He needs to see how his thousands of small brushstrokes fit together to produce an overall result. Likewise, our perspective on life is much improved if sometimes we can step back and see it whole. We can become so occupied with its daily brushstrokes that we have no real perception of the whole scene God is painting on the canvas of the ongoing years. If we can see the big picture of life from Jehovah's perspective, we will see a new dimension of worth in our lives.
The permanence of any building depends upon three things: the materials used, wisdom exercised in its construction, and its foundation. Inferior materials, though skillfully assembled, cannot stand for long against the elements of nature. Nor will superior materials, if carelessly put together, be able to stand. A combination of sound materials and wise direction in assembling is necessary if the building is to endure; also it is very important that it be built upon a solid foundation. The same truths apply to the building of a life. One must choose its materials carefully and work them into the structure of his life wisely. The foundation is the Word of God and the faith we have in it. The materials are spiritual qualities, like the fruitage of the spirit. But we need to skillfully assemble them, so to speak, by applying these qualities in our daily living. In this way, we will build a life that will last for an eternity!
It has been said that life can be understood by looking back but that it must be lived by looking ahead. So instead of worrying about the past, we should be concerned about the present and the future.
A boy arrived late at school. He explained to the teacher that he had run beside his bike all the way to school. The teacher asked him why he didn't ride his bike. His reply: 'I was so late I didn't have time to stop and get on the bike.' It may sound like lack of common sense, but some people act similarly in other areas of life. No matter how busy we are, we must sometimes stop and ask ourselves whether we are living a life that pleases Jehovah, acting according to practical wisdom.
A little boy sits at his mother's knee and looks up from the floor as she was embroidering. To him, it looked like a mess from where he was. He watched her work within the boundaries of the little round hoop that she held in her hand. He complained to her that it sure looked messy from where he sat. She would smile at the boy, look down and gently say, 'My son, you go about your playing for a while, and when I am finished with my embroidering, I will put you on my knee and let you see it from my side.' The boy wondered why she was using some dark threads along with the bright ones and why they seemed so jumbled from his view. A few minutes passed the mother said 'Son, come and sit on my knee.' This he did, only to be surprised and thrilled to see a beautiful flower or a sunset. The boy could not believe it because from underneath it looked so messy. Then Mother said, 'My son, from underneath it did look messy and jumbled, but you did not realize that there was a pre-drawn plan on the top. It was a design. I was only following it. Now look at it from my side and you will see what I was doing.' What is the application? Many times through the years we may have asked our Heavenly Father what was happening to our lives, and how to make sense of it. As we progress in understanding, we in time come to understand that what seems unclear to us from the underside, is beautifully taking form on the other side. The dark threads may seem jumbled and a mess, and we are inclined to develop a negative attitude in our life, despite our Fathers comforting assurances. Yet with a confident faith in Jehovah's will, we will be permitted to see the 'top' side of the embroidery, when 'all things are made new' (Rev. 21:5)
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
You are in pain, so you go to see the doctor. Before you finish explaining your problem the doctor prescribes you some medicine, although he doesn't really know your condition. Would you say that he is a good doctor? Elders in the congregation don't want to become that kind of spiritual doctors. Before giving counsel or sharing suggestions, the elders need to listen carefully and ascertain the facts. In that way, the confidence the flock has on them would not be shaken.
Exodus 3:1, 2: “Then Jehovah’s angel appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a thornbush. As he kept looking, why, here the thornbush was burning with the fire and yet the thornbush was not consumed.” This text illustrates an interesting point. If Jehovah can make a physical fire to burn without consuming, wouldn't be reasonable to believe he is able to do the same with the fire of emotions? We all have desires and passions —getting married, company, acknowledgment— that are natural to us. But if we rely on God, we don't need to be consumed by them!
‘A solitude is the audience-chamber of God.' Lesson? Solitude has its merits and advantages, as it can provide a good setting to further fortify our relationship with God. (https://pt.wikiquote.org/wiki/Walter_Savage_Landor)
Looking at the things behind
Imagine your spouse keeps a secret picture of a former boyfriend/girlfriend and one day you catch him looking at it with this look of being lost in passion. It turns out that your spouse still has feelings for that old love! Now, how would you feel? That will be disappointing, upsetting and heartbreaking. In the same vein, imagine how Jehovah would feel if we keep thinking about the things we left behind in this world; if we keep thinking about things that ultimately proceed from his enemy, Satan? He will feel heartbroken, and we may even incite him to jealousy! (1 Cor. 10:22) Do we understand, then, why God said that those that keep looking at the things behind are not 'well-suited for the Kingdom of God'? (Luke 9:62)
Do you miss the garbage you dumped this morning? Do you have strong feelings for it? No! Paul mentioned that for the Christ he 'have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse.' (Phil 3:8) This scriptural illustration reminds us that if we see any worldly opportunity we may have lost as refuse, we will not look a the things behind.
A man gave a splendid bouquet of roses to his wife. Nice, right? Well, hold that thought. He was forced by a person that pointed a gun at him making him buy the roses. So he did, but he really didn't want to. The wife will be very happy unless she finds out the loveless motive of her husband. If so, she will hate him. Similarly, Jehovah wants us to serve him out of love. We all want eternal life but if our main motivation to we serve him is because death is pointing a gun at us 24/7, that's not going to please Him. (Heb. 2:15)
The Bible focuses on the two types of love that we need to cultivate, Agape and Filia. They occur 250 and 83 times respectably, whereas Eros and Storge, the ones that hardwired, occur zero and three times. It is very clear which kinds of love Jehovah wants us to cultivate.
Love sums up God's law. (Rom 13:8) Since God's law is based on love, it can help us crack the code of God's law. How so? Let's illustrate it. You may have heard about the human genome or genetic code of humans. The foundation of this code, not only in humans but in every living thing, is the molecule called DNA. This molecule is composed of four different parts. Scientists call this four-part as letter A, T, G and C. If you are able to understand how these four parts combine with each other, you'll be able to crack the code. Of course, when it comes to DNA, scientists have only scratched the surface. But this can illustrates the connection between love and God's commandments. There are four types of love described in the Greek language used in the Bible. If we understand how they interact with each other and how to make them part of our personality, following God's commandments —which are based on love— will be natural.
In an engine-room, it is impossible to look into the great boiler and see how much water it contains. But running up beside it is a tiny glass tube, which serves as a gauge. As the water stands in the little tube, so it stands in the great boiler. When the tube is half full, the boiler is half full; when the tube is empty, the boiler is empty. Do you ask, how do I know I love God? I believe I love Him, but I want to know. Look at the gauge. Your love for your brother is a good measure of your love for God.
Stainless steel has many different uses today, from utensils to bank vaults. It can resist the sun, rain, and corrosion. But can it really resist all forms of corrosion and rust? No. If we put a few rusted nails on it for a long period of time, it can rust. In a high-salinity environment, it can also oxidate. To preserve its rust resistance, it needs to avoid oxidated metals, corrosive environments, and be maintained. Likewise, love is “rust resistant,” so to speak, because it bears all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:7) It is a perfect bond of union. (Col. 3:14) But love can deteriorate and cool off if not protected from extended contact with people lacking love or in an environment permeated with selfishness and hatred. This highlights the importance of fortifying our resolve to cultivate this important quality. (it-2 p. 273-279; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stainless_steel)
Have you seen someone striving to become permanent in a job? During the trial period, the worker is punctual and industrious. But once he gets the permanency, what happens with some workers? They slow down, start to come in late, and become lazy. They stop showing interest in having an impeccable performance. They leave the enthusiasm they had at first. Can it happen the same spiritually? Speaking about the Ephesians, Jesus mentioned this situation in a straightforward manner in Revelation 2:1-4. This congregation had a great start, as we can see in Acts 19:18-20. But it seems like through the years they lowered their guard. The same could happen to us. At first, most likely we didn’t miss meetings. We regularly supported preaching arrangements. We were very enthusiastic! However, do we still express the same love? Or have we become accustomed to being late, miss meetings and not being visible in service? These symptoms show that the love we had at first is cooling off. We must keep in mind that baptism does not mean permanency in the book of life. We need to endure to the end.
We can write a beautiful poetic letter to a loved one. Its life-or-death's message may be crucial. We may bring it to the post office or drop it in the mailbox. But if we forget to put a stamp, it’s not going anywhere. Likewise, all of us are similar to letters. We may be very talented, blessed, and smart. Actually, we are carrying a message dealing with life and death. But if we don’t have the stamp of a true Christian, love, we are nothing. (John 13:34, 35; 1 Cor. 13:1-8) We all need to continue growing in love.
An experiment allegedly carried out by Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century saw young infants raised without human interaction in an attempt to determine if there was a natural language that they might demonstrate once their voices matured. It is claimed he was seeking to discover what language would have been imparted unto Adam and Eve by God. Nobody was allowed to engage in any socializing with these infants in any way. From the moment they were born, these infants never heard the sound, hum, or song of a human. Within a year, they were all dead. We all need love and communication, even in early age. It is a innate need of every human. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_deprivation_experiments)
If a doctor and policeman are walking down the street, how do you know who is who? By what they are wearing. Comparably, how do people know who are God's true servants? By their clothes, because Christ's disciples are clothed with love. (John 13:34,35; Colossians 3:14)
Imagine a mother who lost her son murdered by a ruthless nanny. Terrible tragedy. Later on, it turns out that her husband is unfaithful. But not only that. Her husband was unfaithful with none other than the nanny who killed her son. The level of deprivation and disgust of such adultery would be beyond repulsive. True, this may sound like a soap opera or a Mexican telenovela. But in a sense, this is similar to what occurs when a dedicated servant of Jehovah becomes unfaithful and disloyal. Satan killed Jesus, the son of God, and many other children of God. So spiritual adultery with Satan and his world is indeed a repulsive kind of treachery.