“I, (Yahweh) Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One guiding you in the way you should walk. If only you would pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Time spent outdoors is healing for me. i love picnics aka eating outdoors..body/brain food.
Family & Tree time. 🙂
A river of blessings. In the Bible, rivers and water are often used to picture the flow of Jehovah’s life-giving blessings. Ezekiel saw such a river flowing from the temple, so the vision would have led God’s people to expect that Jehovah’s life-giving spiritual blessings would flow to them as long as they adhered to pure worship.
[…]Trees for food and healing. Do the visionary trees along the riverbanks convey encouraging lessons to us today? Certainly! Remember, those trees produced a new crop of delicious fruit every month, and their leaves provided healing. (Ezek. 47:12) They thus remind us that we serve the God who generously feeds us and heals us in the most important way, spiritually. Today’s world is sick and starving in a spiritual sense. By contrast, think of what Jehovah provides.
Does our spiritual food promote spiritual health? The wholesome counsel we receive, based solidly on God’s Word, helps us to fight off such spiritual enemies as immorality, greed, and lack of faith. Jehovah has also put in place an arrangement to help Christians overcome spiritual sickness brought on by serious sin. (Read James 5:14.) We are indeed blessed, just as suggested by Ezekiel’s vision of the trees.
At the same time, we may take a lesson from those unhealed marshy places. Never would we want to refuse to let Jehovah’s blessings flow into our life. It would be tragic to remain unhealed, like so many in this sick world. (Matt. 13:15) Rather, we are delighted to benefit from the river of blessings. When we eagerly drink in the pure waters of truth from God’s Word,[…]
A river of blessings. The symbolic river will, in a sense, be far more expansive in Paradise, for its benefits will be not only spiritual but also physical. During Jesus’ Thousand Year Reign, God’s Kingdom will help faithful ones to benefit from the ransom in a much greater way. Gradually, they will be lifted to perfection! No more diseases, doctors, nurses, hospitals, health insurance! That water of life will flow to the millions of Armageddon survivors, “a great crowd” who will emerge from “the great tribulation.” (Rev. 7:9, 14) However, that initial flow of the river of blessings, impressive though it will be, will be only a trickle compared to what will come later. As in Ezekiel’s vision, the river will expand to meet greater needs. [excerpted readings: Pure Worship Restored At Last–Chapter 19 “Everything Will Live Where the Stream Goes]
Consider some different Bible passages that use the terms “river” and “water” to picture blessings that flow from Jehovah. Taken together, they say something very encouraging about the means by which Jehovah blesses us. How so?
JOEL 3:18 This prophecy shows a spring emanating from the temple sanctuary. It flows out to irrigate the dry “Valley of the Acacia Trees.” So both Joel and Ezekiel see a river bringing life to a barren place. In both cases, the river comes from Jehovah’s house, or temple.
ZECHARIAH 14:8 The prophet Zechariah sees “living waters” flowing from the city of Jerusalem. Half of the water runs to the eastern sea, or Dead Sea, and half, to the western sea, or Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem was “the city of the great King,” Jehovah God. (Matt. 5:35) Zechariah’s mention of that city thus reminds us of Jehovah’s rulership over the whole earth in times to come. We have long understood that the waters in this prophecy suggest that Jehovah will bless two groups of faithful humans in Paradise, those who live through the great tribulation and those who are resurrected afterward.
REVELATION 22:1, 2 The apostle John sees a symbolic river much like the one that Ezekiel saw. However, it emanates, not from a temple, but from Jehovah’s throne. So this vision, like that of Zechariah, seems to stress the blessings of divine rulership during the Millennium.
Of course, there is only a subtle distinction between the blessings that come from Jehovah’s rulership and those that are represented by the river that Ezekiel saw in vision. All such blessings come from Jehovah and flow to all faithful people.
PSALM 46:4 Note how this one verse seems to embrace both aspects—worship and rulership. Here we see a river that brings rejoicing to “the city of God,” suggesting the Kingdom and rulership, as well as to “the holy grand tabernacle of the Most High,” suggesting pure worship.
Taken as a whole, these passages assure us that Jehovah will bless faithful mankind in two ways. We will benefit eternally, first, from his rulership and, second, from his arrangement for pure worship. So let us be determined now to keep seeking from Jehovah God and his Son “living water”—their loving provisions for everlasting life!—Jer. 2:13; John 4:10.
03/12/19 @ 7:14 p.m.
Should so-called “Christians” and “Clergy” get involved in politics?! Is it a “correct” move for a ‘Christian?’
Politics has been defined as “the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate or conflict between individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”—The New Oxford Dictionary of English.
Relevant excerpted reading: “Should the Clergy Preach Politics?” w ’04… (my highlights)
“INVOLVEMENT in politics can help the poor, a Canadian archbishop told pilgrims . . . Even if the political system does not seem to be according to God’s will, ‘we need to get involved so that we can bring justice to the poor.’”—Catholic News
Can preachers of Christianity clean up politics? Is preaching politics God’s way of achieving better government and a better world? Did Christianity start out as a new way to practice politics?
How Politics in Christ’s Name Began
In The Early Church, historian Henry Chadwick says that the early Christian congregation was known for its “indifference to the possession of power in this world.” It was a “non-political, quietist, and pacifist community.” A History of Christianity says: “There was a conviction widely held among Christians that none of their number should hold office under the state . . . As late as the beginning of the third century Hippolytus said that historic Christian custom required a civic magistrate to resign his office as a condition of joining the Church.” Gradually, though, men coveting power began taking the lead in many congregations, giving themselves high-sounding titles. (Acts 20:29, 30) Some wanted to be both religious leaders and politicians. A sudden change in Rome’s government gave such churchmen the opportunity they wanted.
In the year 312 C.E., the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine turned a friendly eye toward nominal Christianity. Astonishingly, the church bishops were content to compromise with the pagan emperor in exchange for the privileges he conferred on them. “The Church became more and more implicated in high political decisions,” wrote Henry Chadwick. What effect did involvement in politics have on churchmen?
How Politics Affected Preachers
The idea that God would use churchmen as politicians was promoted especially by Augustine, an influential fifth-century Catholic theologian. He envisioned the church ruling over the nations and bringing peace to mankind. But historian H. G. Wells wrote: “The history of Europe from the fifth century onward to the fifteenth is very largely the history of the failure of this great idea of a divine world government to realize itself in practice.” Christendom did not bring peace even to Europe, much less to the world. What had been thought of as being Christianity lost its standing in the eyes of many. What went wrong?
Many who claimed to preach Christianity were drawn into politics with good intentions, but then they found themselves participating in evil. Martin Luther, a preacher and a translator of the Bible, is famous for his efforts to reform the Catholic Church. However, his bold stand against church doctrines made him popular with those who had political motives for rebellion. Luther lost the respect of many when he too began to speak out on political issues. Initially he favored the peasants who were rebelling against oppressive nobles. Then, when the rebellion turned savage, he encouraged the nobles to crush the rebellion, which they did, butchering thousands. Not surprisingly, the peasants considered him a traitor. Luther also encouraged the nobles in their own rebellion against the Catholic emperor. In fact, Protestants, as Luther’s followers came to be known, formed a political movement from the beginning. How did power affect Luther? It corrupted him. For example, although he at first opposed coercing religious dissidents, he later encouraged his political friends to execute by burning those who opposed infant baptism.
John Calvin was a famous clergyman in Geneva, but he came to have enormous political influence as well. When Michael Servetus demonstrated that the Trinity has no basis in Scripture, Calvin used his political influence to support the execution of Servetus, who was burned at the stake. What a horrific departure from Jesus’ teachings!
Perhaps these men forgot what the Bible says at 1 John 5:19: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” Did they have a sincere desire to clean up the politics of their day, or was it the prospect of power and of having friends in high places that attracted them? In any case, they should have remembered the inspired words of Jesus’ disciple James: “Do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) James knew that Jesus had said of his followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.”—John 17:14.
“Something better than politics”…(my highlights)
BEING a Christian embraces more than reading the Bible, praying, and singing hymns on Sundays. It involves doing things both for God and for people. The Bible says: “Let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18) Jesus had sincere concern for others, and Christians want to imitate him. The apostle Paul urged fellow believers always to have “plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) But what is the work of the Lord? Does it include trying to change government policy for the benefit of the poor and the oppressed? Is that what Jesus did?
Although Jesus was urged to intervene in political matters or take sides, he refused to do so. He turned down Satan’s offer of power over all the kingdoms of the world, he refused to be drawn into an argument over the paying of taxes, and he withdrew when a popular movement wanted to make him king. (Matthew 4:8-10; 22:17-21; John 6:15) But his neutrality did not prevent him from working for the benefit of others.
Jesus concentrated on what would bring lasting good to others. While his feeding the five thousand and curing the sick brought temporary relief for a few, his teaching made everlasting blessings available to all mankind. Jesus became known, not as an organizer of relief campaigns, but simply as “the Teacher.” (Matthew 26:18; Mark 5:35; John 11:28) He said: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.”—John 18:37.
Preaching Something Better Than Politics
The truth Jesus taught was not political theory. Rather, it centered on the Kingdom of which he himself would be King. (Luke 4:43) This Kingdom is a heavenly government, and it will replace all human administrations and bring permanent peace to mankind. (Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11:9; Daniel 2:44) It is, therefore, the only true hope for mankind. Is it not more loving to declare such a sure hope for the future than to encourage people to trust in men to provide a secure future? The Bible says: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish. Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God.” (Psalm 146:3-5) So rather than sending his disciples out to preach a better way of organizing governments, Jesus taught them to preach the “good news of the kingdom.”—Matthew 10:6, 7; 24:14.
This, then, is “the work of the Lord” that Christian preachers are commissioned to do. Because subjects of God’s Kingdom are required to love one another, the Kingdom will succeed in eliminating poverty by distributing mankind’s resources in a balanced way. (Psalm 72:8, 12, 13) This is good news and is certainly worth preaching.
[Excerpted: Does Neutrality Hinder Christian Love? w ’04]
2/26/19 @ 5:43 p.m.
A mistake? Some of us have been taught or have learned the vital importance of commas in some places like: legal documents and money equations say regarding inheritance. Wrong comma placement can quash value. Commas can dramatically alter things for better, for worse.
Leave out. Insert one. Change income. Change outcome.
On purpose? or by mi…”stake”…a lot “hanging” on this comma: (my colorful highlights)
2 Paradise means different things to different people. Some say that paradise is a fantasy. Others say that paradise is wherever they find joy and satisfaction. A starving man sitting at a banquet might feel that he is in paradise. On seeing a glen full of wildflowers, a 19th-century visitor cried out, “Oh, what a paradise!” That site is still named Paradise, though it receives over 50 feet (15 m) of snow yearly. What does Paradise mean to you? Do you hope for it?
3. How does the Bible get us thinking about a paradise?
3 The Bible speaks of both a paradise that once existed and a paradise still ahead. The idea of Paradise arises early in the Bible. In the Catholic Douay Version, which was translated from Latin, Genesis 2:8 reads: “The Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed [Adam] whom he had formed.” (Italics ours.) The Hebrew text speaks of the garden of Eden. Eden means “Pleasure,” and that garden was indeed pleasant. There was ample food, beautiful scenery, and delightful interaction with many animals.—Gen. 1:29-31.
4. Why can we refer to the garden of Eden as a paradise?
4 Pa·raʹdei·sos is the Greek term that translates the Hebrew word for “garden.” The Cyclopaedia by M’Clintock and Strong says about pa·raʹdei·sos: “A wide, open park, enclosed against injury, yet with its natural beauty unspoiled, with stately forest-trees, many of them bearing fruit, watered by clear streams, on whose banks roved large herds of antelopes or sheep—this was the scenery which connected itself in the mind of the Greek traveller.”—Compare Genesis 2:15, 16.
5, 6. How was Paradise lost, leading to what question?
5 God put Adam and Eve in such a paradise, but they did not remain in it. Why? They disqualified themselves by disobeying God. Thus, Paradise was lost for them and their offspring. (Gen. 3:23, 24) Though without human occupants, that garden apparently remained until the Deluge of Noah’s day.
6 Some may wonder, ‘Will any man, woman, or child ever be able to enjoy Paradise on earth?’ What do the facts show? If you hope to live with your loved ones in Paradise, do you have a valid basis for your hope? Could you explain why Paradise is sure to come?
7, 8. (a) God made what promise to Abraham? (b) God’s promise might have led Abraham to think of what?
7 The logical place to find answers is in the book inspired by the Creator of the original Paradise. Consider what God told his friend Abraham. God said that he would multiply Abraham’s offspring “like the grains of sand on the seashore.” And Jehovah made this meaningful promise: “By means of your offspring all nations of the earth will obtain a blessing for themselves because you have listened to my voice.” (Gen. 22:17, 18) God repeated that basic promise to Abraham’s son and grandson.—Read Genesis 26:4;28:14.
8 There is no indication in the Bible that Abraham thought that humans would get a final reward in a heavenly paradise. So when God spoke of “all nations of the earth” as being blessed, Abraham would reasonably think of blessings on earth. The promise was from God, so it suggested better conditions for “all nations of the earth.” Did further developments among God’s people support such thinking?
9, 10. What later promises provided a basis for expecting coming blessings?
9 David, one of Abraham’s descendants, pointed to a future time when “evil men” and “wrongdoers” would pass away. The result? “The wicked will be no more.” (Ps. 37:1, 2, 10) Instead, “the meek will possess the earth, and they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” David was also inspired to predict: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” (Ps. 37:11, 29; 2 Sam. 23:2) What effect do you think those assurances had on people who wanted to do God’s will? They would have a basis for expecting that if only righteous people were living on earth, in time a paradise like the garden of Eden would be restored.
What we can learn from “criminals”…paradise, hope…”stakes“
People of the whole earth will be blessed by God. No one will face danger from animals or beastlike humans. The blind, deaf, and lame will be cured. People will be able to build their own homes and enjoy growing wholesome food. They will live longer than trees. Yes, we find indications in the Bible that such a future is ahead. Still, some might claim that we are reading more into those prophecies than is justified. How would you answer? What solid reason do you have to look forward to a real paradise on earth? The greatest man who ever lived provided a solid reason.
YOU WILL BE IN PARADISE!
16, 17. In what situation did Jesus speak about Paradise?
16 Though he was innocent, Jesus was condemned and hung on a stake to die, with a Jewish criminal on each side of him. Before dying, one of them acknowledged that Jesus was a king and made the request: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom.” (Luke 23:39-42) Your future is involved in Jesus’ reply, found at Luke 23:43. Some modern scholars give this word-for-word rendering: “Truly I say to you, today with me you will be in Paradise.” Note the word “today.” What was Jesus indicating? There are different views.
17 In many modern languages, commas are used to convey or clarify the meaning of a sentence. But in the earliest available Greek manuscripts, punctuation was not consistently used. Thus, the question arises: Was Jesus saying, “I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise”? Or was he saying, “I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise”? Translators may insert a comma according to what they think that Jesus meant, and you can find either rendering in common Bible versions.
18, 19. How can we reason on what Jesus must have meant?
18 However, recall that Jesus had earlier told his followers: “The Son of man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.” He also said: “The Son of man is going to be betrayed into men’s hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised up.” (Matt. 12:40; 16:21; 17:22, 23; Mark 10:34) The apostle Peter reports that this happened. (Acts 10:39, 40) So Jesus did not go to any Paradise on the day he and that criminal died. Jesus was “in the Grave [or “Hades”]” for days, until God resurrected him.—Acts 2:31, 32; ftn.
19 We can thus see that Jesus’ promise to the criminal was introduced with the words: “Truly I say to you today.” That manner of expression was common even in Moses’ time. He said: “These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart.”—Deut. 6:6; 7:11; 8:1, 19; 30:15.
20. What supports our understanding of what Jesus said?
20 A Bible translator from the Middle East said of Jesus’ reply: “The emphasis in this text is on the word ‘today’ and should read, ‘Truly I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.’ The promise was made on that day and it was to be fulfilled later. This is a characteristic of Oriental speech implying that the promise was made on a certain day and would surely be kept.” Accordingly, a fifth-century Syriac version renders Jesus’ reply: “Amen, I say to thee to-day that with me thou shalt be in the Garden of Eden.” We should all be encouraged by that promise.
21. What did not happen to the criminal, and why?
21 That dying criminal did not know that Jesus had made a covenant with his faithful apostles to be with him in the heavenly Kingdom. (Luke 22:29) Furthermore, that criminal had not even been baptized. (John 3:3-6, 12) We can thus understand that what Jesus promised must be an earthly paradise. Years later, the apostle Paul related a vision of a man “caught away into paradise.” (2 Cor. 12:1-4) Unlike the dying criminal, Paul and the other faithful apostles were selected to go to heaven to share with Jesus in the Kingdom. Still, Paul was pointing to something to come in the future—a future “paradise.” Would that involve the earth? And can you be there?
What is my hope??
22, 23. What can you hope for?
22 Bear in mind that David foresaw the time when “the righteous will possess the earth.” (Ps. 37:29; 2 Pet. 3:13) David was referring to a time when people on earth would live according to God’s righteous ways. The prophecy at Isaiah 65:22 says: “The days of my people will be like the days of a tree.” This implies that people will live for thousands of years. Can you expect that? Yes, for according to Revelation 21:1-4, God will turn his attention to mankind, and one of the promised blessings is that “death will be no more” for people serving God in his righteous new world.
23 The picture is thus clear. Adam and Eve lost Paradise back in Eden, but it was not lost forever. As God promised, people on earth are yet to be blessed. Under inspiration, David said that the meek and righteous will inherit the earth and live on it forever. The prophecies in the book of Isaiah should whet our appetite for the delightful conditions that will prevail. When? When Jesus’ promise to the Jewish criminal comes to pass. You can be in that Paradise.
[excerpted: “See You in Paradise!” w 18 December pp. 3-7]
Peace, Paradise to You:) Reader.
2/16/19 @ 6:56 p.m. (FL, USA)
p.s. unit of time measurement: understanding “time” zones correctly…
Professor C. Marvin Pate wrote: “Traditionally, the word ‘today’ has been understood to be a chronological reference to a twenty-four-hour period. The difficulty with this view is its apparent conflict with biblical teaching elsewhere which suggests that Jesus first ‘descended’ to hades after His death (Matt. 12:40; Acts 2:31; Rom. 10:7) and then afterward ascended to heaven.”
Thank You:) for Reading …in case it isn’t obvious:
i am NO hula hooper. 😉 lol
An imperfect observation by me: i can be “fussy” at times myself…we all have our preferences, and moody/ier days, eh?:)
however…i try to be forgiving and considerate of Others’, their feelings, etc. and cooperate within a healthy reasonable spectrum…to keep the peace. And, we all have our limitations and consciences. i know, personally, couldn’t demand/insist on Anyone breaking their conscience in some matter micro or macro…(on my behalf).
We all have our individual thresholds for being comfortable and uncomfortable. I respect that.
Some of us (perhaps sick? unreasonable? fierce? ignorant? too proud?) people are impossible/beyond pleasing; You “kindly” jump through one or two hoops, in good faith, then they unmercilessly require series of hoops and jumps…unending.
gimme a break…”not open to any agreement” is a negative trait interestingly described 2 Timothy 3:1-5: (my highlights)
But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, 4 betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God,
So, just want to encourage any Reader:) do Your Best. Trying to Please (some) People is futile! I am no people pleaser.
I’ve found it much easier and conscience healing to please Yahweh–God of True LOVE…by trying to be forgiving, loving, giving, and genuinely-compassionate to all crossing my path…and not overly-critical, harsh and i.m.p.o.s.s.i.b.l.e. to make comfortable/happy/pleased.
questions for self-reflections:
Am i hard to make comfortable? Do i have unrealistic expectations?
am i hurting so much that i am hurting Others? Am i reasonable in my dealings with Others?
do i show fellow-feeling? and agape love/respect to all my fellow-life?
BTW: this is an honest/TRUTH FULL piece of prose..(my blog/this site) is NOT a work of fiction. i am a LEGIT person, with a LEGIT name, though Joan Winifred…i use as my “pen” name, which is my “actual” first two names given me by my parents, (what were they thinking, eh?:)
I am a female…born. I am a Mother…real since ’99, ’01, ’03, ’05 (4 offspring; 1 boy, 3 girls–vaginal births; married since ’91 to Chato/Father of said offspring). Soon to be 50. I am a legit work in progress. 🙂 Very spiritually minded. My Primary Loyalty Yahweh; meaning i love everyone else less than True God of bible revealed name Yahweh/Jehovah. (My “True” Friends accept this unreservedly about me.) And I Love Humans A VERY LOT!! which try to demonstrate by living genuine-unselfish-compassion everyday toward all life even—when very difficult— involving self-sacrifice and pain!! Favorite Books–Bible.
Learner of Fun and relaxation…and Mandarin among other languages.
Legit: Boring. Not a Quitter. Lover of Truth; Pursuer of Peace and Living Moderation in most things except study and love!:)
may be those are not humble self-descriptions, huh?
anyway trying my best…”hammering” things out…🙂 lol
Encouraging reading today:
He will not judge by what appears to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to what his ears hear. He will judge the lowly with fairness, and with uprightness he will give reproof.—Isa. 11:3, 4.
Jehovah preserved the Law covenant for us in his Word, the Bible. He wants us, not to obsess over the details of the Law, but to discern and apply its “weightier matters,” the lofty principles that underpin its commandments. (Matt. 23:23) The Mosaic Law reflected a “framework of the knowledge and of the truth” about Jehovah and his righteous principles. (Rom. 2:20) The cities of refuge, for example, teach […] how to “judge with true justice,” and they teach all of us how to “deal with one another in loyal love and mercy.” (Zech. 7:9) [excerpted Imitate Jehovah’s Justice & Mercy w 2017]
2/12/19 @10:26 a.m.