Making changes

Jehovah trains us to become better persons. It's similar to athletes being trained by a professional trainer. The trainer goes beyond the athletes' sports skill; he also makes sure the athletes’ private life is not in conflict with the training. Things like diet, whether they drink or smoke, which gear and apparel best suits their routine, and sometimes, even their sex life can affect the athletes’ performance. Thus a trainer may interfere in their personal matters for the sake of making them better. And committed athletes show self-control to follow through. (1 Cor. 9:25) Likewise, if we want Jehovah to train us like 'spiritual athletes' we need to follow his direction. Indeed, he frankly points out areas in our private lives in which we need to show self-control in order to become strong and fit spiritually.—1 Peter 5:10

The sculptor turns a piece of rock into a marvelous sculpture following a series of steps. First, he needs a sketch to follow. He then proceeds to carve the basic form of the sculpture in which big pieces of rock will be cut away. Then he is ready to carve the details. He may employ a chisel and other precise instruments to chip away material and refine the final shape. Spiritually speaking, we are making a sculpture of our spirituality. The sketch is the Bible, and the model is the perfect man Jesus. When we met the truth, we started making changes and big pieces were cut away: drinking, smoking, immorality, idolatry, etc. A beautiful spiritual shape started to emerge. But it was still rough. It was not Jesus yet. This is when the details need to be carved. As Christians, we need to refine our qualities, cultivate the fruitage of the spirit, reach out, and give our very best to God for the Kingdom, just like the model, Jesus, did. This sculpturing work will not end until we become perfect, but now we can get reasonably close to it. Are we striving to skillfully carve the tiny details that will refine our spirituality?

Luke 13:6-9: Some people may not produce good fruitage at first, even after some time has passed, but Jehovah gives lots of opportunities so that we can improve and do better. But his patience won't last forever.

If you watch a workout video but you don't do the exercises, will you get any results? If you come to meetings and even read the Bible but don't apply it in your life, will you get the full benefit?

We don't change the Bible, the Bible changes us!

Jesus had to kick out the merchants from the temple twice. Why? Because the first time they didn't learn. It's safe to say that probably they went back to the temple again after Jesus died. That helps us to understand why God had to destroy the temple and reject the form of worship offered there. The people at that time lacked humility due to their stubbornness. We learn that in their free will some people will not be willing to change even after going through many episodes of discipline.

'A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, 'How do I know you won't sting me?' The scorpion says, 'Because if I do, I will die too.' The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp 'Why?' Replies the scorpion: 'It's my nature...' ' Lesson? Like the scorpion, some individuals find it hard to make changes, but unlike the scorpion, they will be able to do it with God's help.—2 Cor. 10:4 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog)




Manners

Courtesy and manners are like the air in a vehicle’s tires. It’s free and can make our journey in life smoother and more comfortable.

Genesis 13:14, 31:12; Ezekiel 8:5: Jehovah said ‘please’ to request things from imperfect sinful humans. This illustrates how God, who is love and possesses perfect manners, sets an example for us to also cultivate politeness and courtesy.




Marriage

Starting marriage is like walking up a pyramid. At the top is Jehovah. As the spouses walk up drawing close to Jehovah, they will get close to each other.

Genesis 21:9-11- No one marriage is perfect, no even Abraham and Sarah's. How did they solve this sensitive issue? Verses 12 and 13 show that Abraham listened to God’s counsel. This illustrates the way Christians deal with marital problems.

Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is a beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for: companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc. The truth is that marriage at the start is an empty box. You must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage. Love is in people. And people put love in marriage. There is no romance in marriage. You have to infuse it into your marriage. A couple must learn the art and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.

What is to be compatible in marriage? It doesn't mean the two spouses need to be exactly the same person. It's more like a puzzle that has different pieces uniquely cut but that still fit perfectly forming a beautiful picture.

The global divorce rate for arranged marriages is only 6.3 %. In contrast, the US has a 53% divorce rate, and Belgium a staggering 70%. Interestingly, Jehovah doesn't disapprove arranged marriage among his servants, even though the future spouses don't really know each other well. Why? Because if they apply Bible principles they will be able to succeed. From a spiritual standpoint, if even an arranged marriage can work out if the spouses follow Jehovah's standards, how much more so a marriage when the spouses know each other well and love Jehovah! (http://www.statisticbrain.com/arranged-marriage-statistics/; http://www.businessinsider.com/map-divorce-rates-around-the-world-2014-5)

A cruise ship may seem majestic as it sits idle, moored at a pier. Its true seaworthiness, however, is proved at sea, perhaps even amid the crashing waves of a storm. Similarly, the strength of a marriage bond is not solely defined by peaceful moments of romantic calm. At times, it is proven under difficult circumstances in which a couple weathers storms of adversity.

Do you get jealous of yourself because your right hand can write better than the left one or vice-versa? A married Christian who sees marriage from a spiritual angle, knowing husband and wife are one flesh, won't be competing with his spouse.

Some find it hard to accept the idea that death dissolves marriage forever. As a matter of fact, according to the latest explanation, we need to wait and see what will transpire in the new world in this regard. (w14 8/15 pp. 29-30) What if ultimately the resurrected ones cannot remarry? We can illustrate the right perspective this way: if you were to tell a five-year-old kid that one day he will leave his mother and go live with another woman, he would be horrified and say he would never do it. But in the years to come, he will mature and transform his mind. By the time he is in his 20s or even younger, he will be fine with the idea. Our point of view changes as we grow. In paradise, we will grow to perfection, like Jesus. He was the one that mentioned the words that the resurrected ones “neither marry nor are given in marriage.” (Luke 20:34-36) By the time we develop perfect thinking like him, we will be able to accept whatever truth his words entail.




Marrying in the Lord

Do you know the name of the national bird of modern Israel? It is called the Hoopoe. This is a colorful bird notable for its distinctive 'crown' of feathers, but also for its disgusting habits. The following is an image by artist Artemy Voikhansky

Its diet consists of insects, which are detected by its sharp bill and either extracted or dug out, not only from the ground but also from dunghills and other filth. Its nest produces a foul smelling due to secretions of the bird’s oil glands and for not cleaning the nest of excrement. Not surprisingly, the hoopoe was included among the birds listed as unclean for food in the Mosaic Law. ('Insight' volume 1, page 1137) In a similar way, there may be some attractive individuals out there possessing a charming crown of colorful feathers, as it were. But what about their habits? What about their values? What about their beliefs? These rather profound matters will show what lies beneath their luring feathers. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoopoe)

Billy went down to the city to buy new shoes. He saw a pair that looked good, but the seller told him that it didn't fit him because he was size 10, but the pair was 8. Yet, Billy replied in his country accent: 'it don't matter, y'all get me these shoes 'cause ay wanna buy them!' The seller brought the shoes, but he was a bit concern, so he asked Billy again whether he was sure about getting this pair. Billy got upset and said 'well, goo'ness gracious y'all are ayy nosy awful old dude! just give me thay shoes ayn' go maand y'all's own business'. The seller said 'ok, just remember, once you buy it there's no return and no refund.' Billy grabbed one of the shoes and tried to put it on, but it didn't fit. He kept forcing it until it barely went in. He was happier than a tornado in a trailer park, but it didn't last long. Midway back home, walking with the shoes on, Billy's feet started to hurt really badly. The shoes were too tight! When he couldn't take it anymore, he took them off. He had hurt his feet to the point of bleeding. At that point, he thought 'Ay'm a complete idiot, why ay didn't listen ta the shoe seller!' In the end, poor Billy went back home with his feet hurt and a burden on his shoulder: a pair of shoes that were not usable and had no return. Well, Billy is not the only one that has fallen for that. The same had happened to many when it comes to marriage. A Christian may fall for a person that may not fit his beliefs and goals in life. In spite of that, he may still try to make it work forcibly. If the elders or others warn him about the danger, he may get upset arguing that's not their business. Sadly, midway into their marriage, their hearts bleed, so to speak, going through a failed relationship, a bad marriage. Only then they realize their mate is really not fitting for them and regret not paying attention to the elders. In the end, many end up unhappy, hurt, and carrying a heavy burden on their shoulders: a spouse they don't love and that has no returns! We do well heeding God's counsel on marriage.

A woman named Joan Ginther have won the lottery four times and became a millionaire. Would you start playing the lottery just because it turned out well for her? No, because we know that, regardless of the outcome, God doesn't like gambling. The same with marrying out of the truth. It may seem that some individuals have done well because their spouses became Witnesses later on. We truly rejoice when unbelieving mates accept the truth. Yet, when it comes to marrying in the Lord, it is not only about the outcome, but about whether or not we are willing to trust and obey God.(http://www.businessinsider.com/4-time-lottery-winner-not-exactly-Lucky-2011-8)

Imagine you have a craving for a PB&J (peanut butter and jelly sandwich). While preparing it, you realize that you have peanut butter, but there’s no jelly left. However, there’s plenty of mustard. Will you put the mustard instead? No! That would be nasty! There are some things that just don't mix. Jehovah also gives us direction explaining that spiritually there are also some things that just don’t mix. For instance: believers and unbelievers. (2 Cor. 6:14-17)




Material things

Just like we are unable to obtain the basic nutrients our bodies need from junk food, so it is spiritually. We cannot satisfy spiritual needs with material things.

Will you renounce your faith for a million dollars (USD)? Probably not. However, Satan is smart, and he doesn't make a direct offer like that. Instead, he may offer a job that pays much less, but that will consume our time. He could also offer an opportunity for higher education that one cannot resist. In the end, many compromise their faith for much less than a million! But we need to outsmart our enemy. If our faith is so valuable that it cannot be bought even with a million dollars, then we are truly rich. (2 Cor. 6:10) We don't need abundance of material things to be happy. We only need to have strong faith in Jehovah.

We all need material things but don't have to become materialistic. It can be compared to being hungry. We all need to eat, but just because we have an innate need for food do we need to become gluttons? No! It may have happened, though, sometimes the food is so good that we have overeaten a little. But usually, how do we feel after? We feel regret and sometimes even feel sick. Similarly, if there is certain gadget or item that we don't need but we eagerly want to buy, and we give in and we buy it... how do we feel after? Usually, the desire abates. It was just a temporary craving; the thrill doesn’t last too long. However, if instead we keep feeling an insatiable desire to keep getting more material things, we may be struggling with 'material gluttony,' i.e., greed. May that never be our case!

Once there was a Hunter out hunting bears. The hunter spotted a bear and carefully raised his rifle and took aim. He was just about to pull the trigger when he heard a voice say: Wait, Mr. Hunter! The voice came from the Bear. The Bear continued to say: Let's sit down and talk things over. The hunter lowered his rifle and sat down on a log with the bear. The Bear said to the Hunter: Let's try to be reasonable and reach a compromise. The Hunter took off his hat and scratched his head and said okay. The bear asked the hunter just what was it that he wanted. The Hunter said: A fur coat. The bear replied: That sound reasonable. The bear went on to say: All I want is a full stomach. That sounded fair enough too. So the hunter and the bear discussed things a little more. Then suddenly after a flurry of activity, the bear was alone. The bear had his full stomach, and the Hunter was inside the fur coat. Lesson? Trying to rationalize excuses to pursue unnecessary material possessions can backfire on us. Sometimes it is better to be a little cold and go without than to get wrapped up in unnecessary luxury items.

There was a man who invested most of his time and money on blocks of ice. After a while, he had to store his blocks of ice in his backyard. From time to time, he would look out in his backyard and see his blocks of ice growing more and more. He was so proud of himself and his enormous collection of ice blocks. One day as he was looking out his window at his collection of ice blocks, he saw the sun come out and start to melt his life's collection. There was nothing he could do. After a short time, it was all gone. Sadly, there is little difference between this man and the way people spend their lives storing up worldly treasures. How little it takes to deplete their life's collection, and soon there will be nothing left. It's much wiser to put our trust in Jehovah.

The world has a weird way of reckoning what's valuable. Their so-called wisdom makes people sacrifice their lives to obtain material things. However, they are not willing to give up material things to lead a peaceful life. This pattern shows that, to them, life is not more valuable as material things. Jehovah, though, tells us otherwise.—Luke 12:20,21

We should not love things because things cannot love us. Only real people can. And above all people, the God that is love, Jehovah, can love us forever.

We cannot slave for God and Riches. (Mt 6:24) We might illustrate it this way: if an eagle preys on a fish and it manages to catch it. But now, as it holds this fish between its paws, the eagle starts to notice that the fish is too heavy. If he still decides to hold on to the fish, what will happen? The eagle will fall into the water. Similarly, if we decide to pursue riches, and we hold on to them as the eagle holds onto the heavy fish, eventually our relationship with Jehovah will drown.




Maturity

A father says: 'my kid already says 'daddy''. You ask him: 'great, how old is he?' He replies: 'he is 15'. You ask '15 months?'. The father says: 'No, 15 years old'. Hmmm...honestly, what would you think about this kid? Unless there are some exceptional circumstances, speaking your first word at age 15 is usually not something parents would be proud of. Greater maturity would be expected. Likewise, the more time we spend learning from Jehovah, the more maturity is expected from us. If our progress is steady Jehovah will indeed be proud of us.

If a kid finds a precious rock, he would probably not appreciate its value. He may start playing with it and smash it all over. If the gem cracks or gets lost, he would never know the foolish thing he did. Similarly, some individuals bump into the precious gems of the Truth, but as they are 'spiritual children' they are unable to appreciate it. (1 Cor. 13:11) Consequently, even if they stop studying or lose contact with the Witnesses, they don't feel like they have lost something valuable. Of course, we all have the freedom to decide. We can only hope that if those individuals are truly deserving, Jehovah will find them again one day soon.—Mat. 10:11




Meditation

Fruit trees take in water, sunlight, and soil. As a result, they produce fruit. Particularly, light has a vital role in the process of photosynthesis. Likewise, we take in spiritual food and spiritual light with meditation and produce fruitage of the spirit and godly devotion.

When doing personal study, try to apply the cubit thinking approach. It entails meditating on the Scriptures in three dimensions: past, present, and future.

The Bible is not meant for speed-reading. If our mind and heart were like a garden, what sort of a garden would it be? Rocky and barren, or full of flowers and plant life? Bible reading without meditation is like a rain shower. It passes quickly and dries up, refreshing to the mind, but just for a moment. There is no lasting benefit. Bible reading with meditation, on the other hand, is like a steady rain that sinks into the mind and heart and stimulates spiritual growth. What kind of Bible reading do you do?




Meetings

This is why I stopped attending football matches (it could work with other sports too):

  • The people I had to sit with didn't seem very friendly.
  • The seats were too hard and not comfortable.
  • The coach never came to call on me.
  • The referee made some decisions I couldn't agree with.
  • Some of the other spectators were hypocrites.
  • Some games went overtime and I was late getting home.
  • The games are scheduled when I have other things to do.
  • My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.
  • Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches anyhow.
  • I don't want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what team they support.
Seriously? Do we ever catch ourselves falling into the same habit of making excuses? Let us not forsake the gathering of ourselves together in the congregation.—Heb 10.24, 25

A sister in South Sudan got very sick and was not able to attend meetings, which made her very sad. Her unbelieving husband wanted to help her and keep her happy, so he started to attend all the meetings 'for' her. Each time he took notes of everything that happened in the meeting and then brought them back to his wife. He developed the habit of attending meetings for a number of months. Sadly, the sister passed away eventually. Since the husband had developed the habit of attending meetings, he just decided to continue. Now, he is a baptized brother. Lesson? If husbands do all they can to please their wife, everything else will fall into place! Also, harnessing the power of habit when it comes to attending meetings can boost our determination to attend all meetings.

If we have a rich father, billionaire, and he asks you to request a day off to spend time with him, will you be afraid to ask for it, even to lose our job? No, because you have your father's backing. He has lots of the money so we won't lack anything if we please him. We can say for sure that no one is wealthier than our heavenly Father, Jehovah. If we need to ask time off from work to attend meetings or conventions and our boss says ‘No’ and threatens to fire us, we should not get overly anxious because we have a rich father that has promised to take care of us! Question is: Do we really believe that? That's why we need to keep a strong relationship with Jehovah. Going back to the illustration, if we had an argument with our rich father or we don’t have a good relationship with him, we won't have the confidence that he will support us if we need it. The same with God.

One day you woke up, and you had a really bad headache, really bad...but you have to go to work. What do we usually do? In Western culture is common to take painkillers and try to keep going. Maybe the headache doesn't completely go away, but you feel well enough to go to work. How come that pill works for our secular jobs but not for our meetings? Can we show the same abnegation for Jehovah?

You are not feeling well, so you need some medical treatment. You make an appointment to see the doctor. You know you may need to wake up really early to get to your appointment, you may need to wait for hours to until your turn comes, you may encounter other sickly people there, you may get a painful injection and bleed, the doctor may prescribe some medicines that taste nasty... But still, you push yourself and go because you know it is for your own good. Can't we have the same determination to see our spiritual doctor, Jehovah? Can't we put away all obstacles we may find, and just come and be in the kingdom hall with the congregation? We want to give priority to Jehovah and our meetings.

A sailor on a large tanker is asked to go out and check something on deck during a severe storm. He holds on carefully but is swept overboard by a huge wave. Just when he's about to go over the railing, he grabs hold of a rope with one hand. Now when he's hanging there, do you think he'll say to himself; well, wonder if I can hold on with only four fingers? Or maybe only three? No, he'll be trying to get a hold on the rope also with his other hand. Likewise, we have two hands we can use to hold on to Jehovah: our midweek meeting and weekend meeting. Do we feel that perhaps we could do without one of them? No, we need to hold on tight with both hands, both meetings every week!

Sometimes we feel so tired, we just don't want to go to the meeting. But think about this: If we wake up tired, but we know we must to go to work, what do we do? Usually, we drag ourselves out of bed and go to work, right? Can we have the same self-sacrificing spirit for the meetings? If we wake up tired, we go to work tired, we go to the doctor tired, we go back home tired... If we are always tired anyway, might as well just go to the meeting tired!

A silversmith needs a workshop. The same with a potter. What about Jehovah? Christian meetings are Jehovah's workplace where he works on molding us. What about Satan? His wicked world is his workshop. If we don't attend meetings and stay in the world, who will end up molding us?

When we are putting a jigsaw puzzle together, we refer to the cover to see its complete picture. Every piece has a special position in the image. We get the puzzle nearly completed, but wait! There is a little piece of blue sky missing up here in the corner. Perhaps we would feel that the piece it’s not needed, or maybe nobody will notice it’s missing. In reality, though, the picture is not complete!

Each of Jehovah’s congregations can be likened to the jigsaw puzzle's picture on the box cover. Jehovah sees the complete picture of each congregation as well as the individual members in it. Rested assured that he can see any missing piece. Not just Him, but the brothers and sisters also notice and yearn for those that at times miss the meetings. Every member of the congregation is needed. So next time you notice, let Jehovah use you to encourage those that often miss our Christian gatherings. Make sure they are doing fine and offer your assistance to them if fitting. The congregation's picture will be even more beautiful if it is complete. (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)




Mildness

Mildness is like silk, soft but strong. People value and appreciate it.




Mind

Our mind is like a private room. Only Jehovah and you have the keys. When God opens the door and comes in, what does he see?

Ephesians 4:23 talks about ‘be made new in your dominant mental attitude.’ What is the dominant mental attitude? To illustrate: A man gets insulted by an enemy. First, his wife gets cursed, then his children, then his mother. He is able to withstand the pressure and do not get violent but endures. Now the bully starts to insult his car, calling it a piece of junk. The man went out and beat him up. Now, what would you say is his dominant mental attitude? A violent reaction was more dominant than mildness or peace, and his love for his car was more dominant than his love for his family! It makes us wonder, have we made new our dominant mental attitude so that the fruitage of the spirit can take over and dominate us?

Some people fill up their minds with information that can be likened to garbage. It would not be so damaging to those who watch such trash if the mind could be equipped, like your kitchen sink, with a garbage disposal. Then you could flush away all the filth and be done with it, but the mind does not work that way. It stores up impressions for a long time, sometimes even a lifetime. The only way to protect the mind is to expose it to only the best!

Is it hard for you to change the TV channel if you don't like certain program? Not at all, especially if we have a remote control. The same with the screen of our mind. If we have negative thoughts, can we take the control and change the channel? Could we perhaps go to JW Broadcasting and play some upbuilding videos that will replace the negative thoughts with positive ones? We can watch good channels in our minds full of positive images that will build comforting memories if we feed it with theocratic content like the one found in JW Broadcasting. —Phili 4:8




Missionaries

A Bethel speaker shared this quote that is originally attributed to brother Nathan Knorr when he visited some missionaries in a certain island in the Pacific: “While these areas may seem foreign, remember that you are always at home on planet Earth. The only really foreign missionary was Christ, because he left the heavens to serve here. Stick to your assignment until the work is done!”




Misunderstandings

The antidote for misunderstanding is understanding. We need to use our power of reason to understand what prompted certain person to wrong us. That will dissipate negative emotions. For example, if we say hello to a brother in the congregation, but he totally ignores us, we will probably resent that. Our imperfect but creative minds may go on to think that this brother is a hater and not spiritual and the elders should be aware of his agenda against us. But if later we get to know that this brother was recently diagnosed with a serious illness, and even though he was down and sad he made it to the meeting... now, would you still feel offended? No, because now you UNDERSTAND why he acted as he did. And it is totally justifiable to feel like not wanting to talk to anyone when you are under such pressure. Actually, even Jehovah acknowledges that. (Ecl. 7:7) Now your creative imagination goes on the right track and thinks that, if it would have been you standing in his shoes, you would have probably done the same thing, or worse. In the end, that crucial piece of information really changes your outlook. So next time somebody does something that offends you, before your mind gets carried away, can you stop and try to use understanding to avoid misunderstandings?




Modesty

Imagine a bethel speaker is coming to give a talk in your congregation. The elders ask if you can provide transportation for the brother to and from the airport. You are excited with the privilege. You say “yes” without thinking about it. However, later you figure that you are not in a position to accept that responsibility: your car just broke, you have not funds for the repairs, and you don’t even have money for a taxi or Uber. The airport is 2 hours away. Moreover, you have to work the day the brother is coming, so you don’t have time to pick him up. Now, you have to asks somebody else to do it for you, but really, this is your job! It would have been a modesty to decline that task due to your circumstances. Lesson? We need to be modest accepting privileges. If we are not aware of our limitations, we may be trying to give from what we don't have. If in the end we fail to deliver, it can affect the congregation and the publishers. And it can also affect our reputation. Modesty can save us all that pain.




Modulation

A heart rate monitor when it makes the beep, beep, beep sound indicates that the person is alive. But when it's one tone: beeeeeep, the patient is dead. What does this illustrate? If our talks have modulation, they will be animated and lively. If monotone and plain, like the beeeeep, they will sound lifeless, not to mention boring.

Certain mischievous boy is a real handful for his mother. He can't stay put in the kingdom hall. Suddenly he makes a loud noise that distracts others, so the mother grabs him by the arm and tells him in a low voice but with firm pace and serious tone: 'STAY PUT and QUIET!' The boy recognized that mom's tone was not 'happy mom' kind of tone and thus stayed put for the rest of the meeting. The mom didn't need to raise her volume or yell; she just modulated in order to transmit her feelings. This illustrates that modulation is not only a matter of raising the volume of our voice. It can also work in a lower tone, as long as the voice can vary its pace and pitch to adjust to the circumstances.




Money

Jesus said: 'show me a denarius'. (Luke 20:24) Why did he ask somebody else for a denarius? Maybe because he didn't have one! And yet, he lacked nothing. He really led a simple life, and Jehovah provided all he needed. When it comes to money, do we have a spiritual point of view?

Money is a great servant but a bad master. (http://www.azquotes.com)

A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart (https://www.brainyquote.com)

This is the story about Satan's attack upon a certain Christian: First, he shot a poisonous dart at his heel, but the Christian was unharmed because he had his feet shod in readiness to declare the good news. Satan's next attempt was at his loins, but the Christian repelled this because he had his loins girded about with the truth. Unsuccessfully the devil tried a shot at his breast, the breastplate of righteousness. The Christian knocked away another arrow. But the devil, still not discouraged, slipped around behind the Christian and shot him in the pocketbook, and killed him dead as a hammer. The moral? Some in the congregation are very spiritual while they are living a relatively comfortable life, but when they face financial setbacks and get hit in the pocket, they start acting like money is the most important thing in their lives. May we all learn the secret of both how to have an abundance and how to suffer want.—Philippians 4:12




Mosaic Law

A plumb line can only prove that a crooked wall is crooked. No matter how you use it, a plumb line can't make a crooked wall straight. The law was God's plumb line, designed to show people that they are crooked, or sinful. It was never intended to make us perfectly straight or righteous - and, indeed, it never could. For that, we needed the ransom.

Galatians 3:19 states 'Why, then, the Law? It was added to make transgressions manifest.' This can be illustrated this way: if you walk in a dark room full of obstacles, you don't know what you are bumping into. If you light up the room, the obstacles will become manifest. This is what the law did to humanity's sins. Now we can see them clearly from Jehovah's illuminated perspective.




Motives

A man goes to a store to buy a beautiful red dress for his wife. He gets it wrapped as a gift; everything looks spectacular. He goes home and gives the gift to his wife. She gets so happy and excited! So far everything is going well, but then the husband adds: I'm giving you this because you look fat, sloppy and old. I hope this will encourage you to look better and take care of your appearance. How would this woman feel about the beautiful red dress now? The only words she will remember are fat, sloppy and old. Indeed, the motives behind our actions can change the outcome. Bad motives can ruin good deeds.

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)

In his hometown in Colombia, many people thought he was a good man. He helped the poor, spent lots of money in the community, sponsored sports teams, built churches, schools, roads and residences. He was a local hero. Who was he? None other than Pablo Escobar, infamous drug dealer and head of the Medellin Cartel. Lesson? Good deeds cannot excuse evilness. God is the only one that can read the human heart and see the hidden motives. If we do good, he will know if we have the right motive. Our motives cannot be coupled with selfishness. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-25183649, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/06/two-sides-pablo-escobar-_n_5940340.html