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Category Archives: sovereignty

on my side

Breathing-Fragile-Life choice contentment courage forgiveness God healing hope Hope humility insights Joan Winifred justice lamentations of the heart leadership never giving up! patience positive qualities power prisoners questions reality sovereignty spiritual food study Transformations trust Truth

IF there is an “ALMIGHTY” God/Ultimate Designer/Architect of the Universe/Creator of Man & Earth/Yahweh/Supreme Sovereign/Maker of TREES…True God of LOVE…”s–l–o–w to anger and  a       b     u     n      d      a      n    t      in loving-kindness”…merciful and Freely Forgiving…:) who cannot lie!!…

do i want “Him” on MY side??!

there are frequent/rare times in life…when over/underwhelmed, betrayed, rejected, bored…lonely, lost, depressed, sick, sad, grieving…tortuous to the soul/tough times; all of us have faced these in varying lengths and in varying degrees/forms…for me, just “thinking” , approaching life/challenges/disasters/disappointments/death differently/(outside typical boxes) from Others: for example, obviously—IF You read my blog—i tend to be more spiritually minded v. secularly/academically/mathematically/materially minded..etc..my meditation/analization processes tilt toward..(spirituality)…Spiritual/Biblical Truth…my obsession.

it’s the stable/anchor place of deeply satisfying-comforting answers that completely/repetely nourish my mind/heart/kidneys and which make the most sense to imperfect-limited me.

a Biblical character i admire a lot…”Joseph”…an excerpted article: check it out IF YOU:) so choose: “Please Listen to This Dream w August 2014:

How did Joseph get into such a terrible predicament? And what can we learn from the faith of a young man who was victimized and rejected by members of his own family?

Joseph came from a very large family​—but not a happy and united one. The Bible’s portrait of Jacob’s family stands as vivid proof of the negative effects of polygamy​—an entrenched practice that God tolerated among his people until his Son restored the original standard of monogamy. (Matthew 19:4-6) Jacob had at least 14 children by four different women​—his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and their maidservants, Zilpah and Bilhah. From the start, Jacob was in love with his beautiful Rachel. He never felt such an attachment to Leah, Rachel’s older sister, whom he had been tricked into marrying. A bitter rivalry persisted between the two women, and that jealousy carried  over to the children of the household.​—Genesis 29:16-35; 30:1, 8, 19, 20; 37:35.

Rachel was barren for a long time, and when she finally gave birth to Joseph, Jacob treated this son of his old age as special. For example, when the family were on their way to a dangerous meeting with Jacob’s murderous brother, Esau, Jacob made sure that Rachel and little Joseph were given the safest position at the rear of the household group. That tense day must have made a deep impression on Joseph. Imagine how he felt that morning as he wondered, wide-eyed, why his aged but vigorous father was now walking with a limp. How amazed he must have been to learn the reason: His father had struggled the night before with a mighty angel! And why? Because Jacob wanted a blessing from Jehovah God. Jacob’s reward was the change of his name to Israel. A whole nation would bear his name! (Genesis 32:22-31) In time, Joseph learned that the sons of Israel were to father the tribes of that nation!

Later, young Joseph faced tragedy firsthand when the dearest person in his young life left him all too soon. His mother died while giving birth to his younger brother, Benjamin. His father grieved deeply over the loss. Imagine Jacob gently wiping the tears from Joseph’s eyes, comforting him with the same hope that had once comforted Jacob’s grandfather Abraham. How touched Joseph must have been to learn that Jehovah would one day restore his mother to life! Perhaps Joseph came to have even deeper love for the generous “God . . . of the living.” (Luke 20:38; Hebrews 11:17-19) In the wake of the loss of his wife, Jacob always had tender feelings for those two boys, his sons by Rachel.​—Genesis 35:18-20;37:3; 44:27-29.

Many children would be spoiled or corrupted by such special treatment; but Joseph learned from the many good qualities of his parents, and he developed strong faith as well as a keen sense of right and wrong. At the age of 17, he was working as a shepherd, assisting some of his older brothers, when he noticed some wrongdoing on their part. Was he tempted to keep the matter quiet so as to gain their favor? In any case, he did what was right. He reported the matter to his father. (Genesis 37:2) Perhaps that brave act confirmed Jacob’s high opinion of this beloved son. What an excellent example for […] youths to think about! When tempted to conceal the serious sin of another​—perhaps a sibling or a friend—​it is wise to imitate Joseph and make sure that the matter is known to those who are in a position to help the wrongdoer.​—Leviticus 5:1.

Perhaps because of Joseph’s courageous stand for what was right, Jacob bestowed an honor on the boy. He had a special garment made for his son. (Genesis 37:3) It has often been called a striped coat or a coat of many colors, but there is scant evidence for such renderings. Likely, it was a long, elegant robe, perhaps reaching to the extremities of the arms and legs. It was probably the kind of garb that a nobleman or a prince might wear.

“When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they began to hate him, and they could not speak peaceably to him.”  (Genesis 37:4) Their jealousy may be understandable, but Joseph’s brothers were unwise to give in to that poisonous emotion. (Proverbs 14:30; 27:4) Have you ever found yourself seething with envy when someone received attention or honor that you wanted? Remember Joseph’s brothers. Their jealousy led them to commit deeds that they would come to regret deeply. Their example serves to remind Christians that it is far wiser to “rejoice with those who rejoice.”​—Romans 12:15.

Joseph surely sensed his brothers’ animosity. So did he stash his fancy robe out of sight when his brothers were near? He might have been tempted to do so. Remember, though, that Jacob wanted the robe to be a sign of favor and love. Joseph wanted to live up to his father’s trust in him, so he loyally wore the garment. His example is useful for us. Although our own heavenly Father is never partial, he does at times single out  his loyal servants and favor them. Furthermore, he asks them to stand out as different from this corrupt and immoral world. Like Joseph’s special robe, the conduct of true Christians makes them different from those around them. Such conduct sometimes incites jealousy and animosity. (1 Peter 4:4) Should a Christian hide his true identity as a servant of God? No​—no more than Joseph should have hidden his robe.​—Luke 11:33.

a dreamer of dreams…

It was not long before Joseph had two extraordinary dreams. In the first dream, Joseph saw himself and his brothers, each binding a sheaf of grain. But then his brothers’ sheaves encircled his sheaf and bowed down to it as it stood erect. In the second dream, the sun, the moon, and 11 stars were bowing down to Joseph. (Genesis 37:6, 7, 9) What should Joseph do about those strange and vivid dreams?

The dreams came from Jehovah God. They were prophetic in nature, and God meant for Joseph to pass along the message they contained. In a sense, Joseph was to do what all the later prophets did when they related God’s messages and judgments to His wayward people.

Joseph tactfully said to his brothers: “Please listen to this dream that I had.” His brothers understood the dream, and they did not like it one bit. They answered: “Are you really going to make yourself king over us and dominate us?” The account adds: “So they found another reason to hate him, because of his dreams and what he said.” When Joseph related the second dream to his father as well as his brothers, the reaction was not much better. We read: “His father rebuked him and said to him: ‘What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Am I as well as your mother and your brothers really going to come and bow down to the earth to you?’” However, Jacob kept thinking the matter over. Might (Yahweh) Jehovah be communicating with the boy?​—Genesis 37:6, 8, 10, 11.

HATED…Ouchy-wawa! 🙁

Not long afterward, Jacob sent young Joseph on a journey. The older sons were tending the flocks up north near Shechem, where they had recently made bitter enemies. Naturally, Jacob was concerned about his sons, so he sent Joseph to check on their welfare. Can you imagine Joseph’s feelings? He knew that his brothers hated him more than ever! How would they like it when he came to them as their father’s spokesman? Nonetheless, Joseph obediently set out.​—Genesis 34:25-30; 37:12-14.

It was quite a trek​—in all, perhaps four or five days of walking. Shechem lay about 50 miles (80 km) to the north of Hebron. But at Shechem, Joseph learned that his brothers had moved on to Dothan, which lay another 14 miles (22 km) or so to the north. When Joseph finally neared Dothan, his brothers saw him coming from a distance. Immediately their hatred boiled to the surface. The account reads: “They said to one another: ‘Look! Here comes that dreamer. Come, now, let us kill him and pitch him into one of the waterpits, and we will say that a vicious wild animal devoured him. Then let us see what will become of his dreams.’” Reuben, however, persuaded his brothers to throw Joseph into a pit alive, hoping that he could rescue the boy later on.​—Genesis 37:19-22.

Unsuspecting, Joseph approached them, no doubt hoping for a peaceful meeting. Instead, his brothers attacked him! Roughly, they stripped off his special robe, dragged him to a dried-out waterpit, and pushed him in. Down Joseph fell! Recovering from the shock, he struggled to his feet, but he could never climb out on his own. He saw only a circle of sky as his brothers’ voices receded. He cried out to them, pleading, but they ignored him. Callously, they ate a meal nearby. While Reuben was absent, they again considered killing the boy, but Judah persuaded them to sell him to passing merchants instead. Dothan was near the trade route to Egypt, and it was not long before a caravan of Ishmaelites and Midianites came by. Before Reuben returned, the deed was done. For 20 shekels, they had sold their brother as a slave.​—Genesis 37:23-28; 42:21.

As Joseph was taken south along the road to Egypt, he seemed to have lost everything. He was cut off! For years, he would know nothing of his family​—nothing of Reuben’s anguish when he returned to find Joseph gone; nothing of Jacob’s grief when he was deceived into believing that his beloved Joseph was dead; nothing of his aged grandfather Isaac, who still lived; and nothing of his beloved younger brother, Benjamin, whom he would miss dearly. But was Joseph left with nothing at all?​—Genesis 37:29-35.

Joseph still had something that his brothers could never take from him: faith. He knew much about his God, Yahweh/Jehovah, and nothing could rob him of that​—not the loss of his home, not the hardships of captivity on the long journey to Egypt, and not even the humiliation of being sold as a slave to a wealthy Egyptian named Potiphar. (Genesis 37:36) Joseph’s faith and his determination to stay close to his God only grew stronger through such hardships.

It’s very commendable (and imitation worthy from my POV) Joseph never gave up hope, never became bitter; nor haughty when put in a powerful position, “Avrekh” , 2nd to Pharaoh…He didn’t retaliate, seek revenge/compensation for years of unjustly suffering…Amazing!! Joseph “continued” loving his Brothers (aka jealous enemies in His own household) exercising patience…which provided them opportunity for positive transformation. He forgave his brothers. Preserving many lives!

i like this song and video about Joseph:

questions for reflections:
what are my personal/individual hardships growing in me?!
negatives?! positives?!

am i getting bitter or better?!

am i being patient?

forgiving?

how will “accurate” faith/knowledge/Truth, forgiveness, hope, humility, gratitude,

God!…

get me through the ups and downs/the highs and lows

the reality of this fleeting/fast-paced life?

(whom does one turn to when even your own brothers/family hate/are against You?! How about God??)

p.s. life lesson:  don’t hate (nor love?) the messenger, eh?! 😉

Good Night/Good Day to You Reader:)

11/15/18 @ 12:16 a.m.

p.p.s.

I AM NOT ALONE!!! 

🙂

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Ca(i)n and Ab(e)l(e)

appreciation attitude Breathing-Fragile-Life change choice conscientious-ness courage education God healing humility insights Joan Winifred sovereignty spiritual food

Can?? IF wanted (to)
and
able?? can
or
Cain
and Abel…the so-called good bro; the so-called bad bro

What is the distinction between can? and able?…similar meanings/similar capacities, eh?!

(We are both…can & able or able and can)

Cain…can/could but didn’t! and Abel would/did…
Cain can be good
Abel…was!…good.

(choices and delusions, insights and know-hows)

at the mind gym…My more-experienced-in-life Friend, Joyce:)…”JOY” ful, smart, sweet, sassy 80 something year old…whom i deeply respect, admire and love…an amazing positive-capable-example. The spiritual (and other) epitome of Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Worker, Smart Lady…has helped countless people through the years (including my family) these few words cannot adequately sum up her goodness/value/worth on so many exemplary levels.

Yet she shockingly, humbly tells me she’s Cain–we are all Cain. Why? How? “Can” that be Joyce??!

this was her response to me (above-mentioned) after we discussed the following readings/excerpts… (of note: “Yahweh” Hebrew for God’s name..”Jehovah” is the English language equivalent of said name…found 7,000 times in the Bible: (my highlights))

3. Why did Jehovah (aka Yahweh) reach out to Cain, and what did He tell him?

Consider the case of Cain. He did not profess to worship any other god but Jehovah. Cain’s worship, however, was not acceptable to God. There were seeds of wickedness growing deep within his heart. (1 John 3:12) Jehovah reached out to Cain and told him: “If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor? But if you do not turn to doing good, sin is crouching at the door, and its craving is to dominate you; but will you get the mastery over it?” (Gen. 4:6, 7) Jehovah was, in effect, telling Cain, “If you repent and take a firm stand on my side, I will, in turn, be on your side.”

4. Given the opportunity to be on Jehovah’s side, what did Cain do?

If only Cain would correct his thinking, Jehovah would restore him to favor. But Cain did not listen to the counsel. Wrong thinking and selfish desire led him to wrong actions. (Jas. 1:14, 15) In his youth, Cain may never have imagined that he would take a stand against Jehovah. In time, however, he did the unimaginable​—he rebelled against God and killed his own brother!

5. What kind of thinking could cause us to lose Jehovah’s favor?

Like Cain, a Christian today could be following the wrong path even while professing to worship Jehovah. (Jude 11) For instance, one could nurture immoral fantasies, greedy thoughts, or hateful feelings toward a fellow Christian. (1 John 2:15-17; 3:15) This thinking can lead to sinful actions. […]. Other humans may not be aware of our thoughts and conduct, but Jehovah sees all things and knows if we are not wholeheartedly on his side.​—Read Jeremiah 17:9, 10

[Who Is On Jehovah’s Side? excerpted reading W July 2018]

my imperfect thoughts about above reading:

a lot of us may think or say “we’re good”… could mean “all set”  “good to go”, etc. or “doing good” (our personal definition of good, eh?) …or on the right/correct/logical/reasonable/sensible side of things…history, controversy, religion, knowledge, you name it, etc. We have a “good” education.  Yet…we could be fooling ourselves (and Others)…most of us profess something…”good” “right”…

i am no judge…but God/Yahweh/Jehovah…knows; for sure.

And IF all of us openly/humbly accept wise counsel…we become able (or Abel-Like) …aka we don’t kill our Brother…or Others.

Questions for Reflections:

am i on the side of (genuine) good?

am i on God’s good side?

who actually determines “good” ? “bad” ?

am i winning my personal/individual spiritual battle for good?

what can i do?

what am i able to do?

10/04/18 @ 11:58 a.m.

You Dear Reader:)…can…You are Able…((to) BE GOOD) :)…(and so can i)

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ho lo’gos

conscientious-ness God insights Joan Winifred justice logic sovereignty trust Truth

There is some circulating conjecture (needing clarifying) on “a” scripture: John 1:1.

Please check this excerpted reading out:) (my highlights)

the Word: Or “the Logos.” Greek, ho loʹgos. Here used as a title, it is also used at Joh 1:14 and Re 19:13. John identified the one to whom this title belongs, namely, Jesus. This title was applied to Jesus during his prehuman existence as a spirit creature, during his ministry on earth as a perfect man, and after his exaltation to heaven. Jesus was God’s Word of communication, or Spokesman, for conveying information and instructions to the Creator’s other spirit sons and to humans. So it is reasonable to think that prior to Jesus’ coming to earth, Jehovah communicated with mankind through the Word, His angelic mouthpiece.—Ge 16:7-11; 22:11; 31:11; Ex 3:2-5; Jg 2:1-4; 6:11, 12; 13:3.

with: Lit., “toward.” In this context, the Greek preposition pros implies close proximity and fellowship. It also indicates separate persons, in this case, the Word and the only true God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. (John 1:1)

More scholarly commentary:

  • the Word was a god: Or “the Word was divine [or, “a godlike one”].” This statement by John describes a quality or characteristic of “the Word” […], that is, Jesus Christ. The Word’s preeminent position as the firstborn Son of God through whom God created all other things is a basis for describing him as “a god; a godlike one; divine; a divine being.” Many translators favor the rendering “the Word was God,” equating him with God Almighty. However, there are good reasons for saying that John did not mean that “the Word” was the same as Almighty God. First, the preceding clause and the following clause both clearly state that “the Word” was “with God.” Also, the Greek word the·osʹ occurs three times in verses 1 and 2. In the first and third occurrences, the·osʹ is preceded by the definite article in Greek; in the second occurrence, there is no article. Many scholars agree that the absence of the definite article before the second the·osʹ is significant. When the article is used in this context, the·osʹ refers to God Almighty. On the other hand, the absence of the article in this grammatical construction makes the·osʹ qualitative in meaning and describes a characteristic of “the Word.” Therefore, a number of Bible translations in English, French, and German render the text in a way similar to the New World Translation, conveying the idea that “the Word” was “a god; divine; a divine being; of divine kind; godlike.” Supporting this view, ancient translations of John’s Gospel into the Sahidic and the Bohairic dialects of the Coptic language, probably produced in the third and fourth centuries C.E., handle the first occurrence of the·osʹ at Joh 1:1 differently from the second occurrence. These renderings highlight a quality of “the Word,” that his nature was like that of God, but they do not equate him with his Father, the almighty God. In harmony with this verse, Col 2:9 describes Christ as having “all the fullness of the divine quality.” And according to 2Pe 1:4, even Christ’s joint heirs would “become sharers in divine nature.” Additionally, in the Septuagint translation, the Greek word the·osʹ is the usual equivalent of the Hebrew words rendered “God,” ʼel and ʼelo·himʹ, which are thought to convey the basic meaning “Mighty One; Strong One.” These Hebrew words are used with reference to the almighty God, other gods, and humans. (See study note on Joh 10:34.) Calling the Word “a god,” or “a mighty one,” would be in line with the prophecy at Isa 9:6, foretelling that the Messiah would be called “Mighty God” (not “Almighty God”) and that he would be the “Eternal Father” of all those privileged to live as his subjects. The zeal of his own Father, “Jehovah of armies,” would accomplish this.—Isa 9:7.

    [excerpted readings: “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Study Edition, Gems]

Further reading for post context:
and me, this little birdie,…is hummming the “missing” tune from afore-mentioned post:

LOL…this sister, me aka “a” woman, 1 individual of many women on Earth (AND no, i am not a trinity!…i am “a” separate person from my mother and my daughter in case You needed, obvious-logical clarification:))…however, with woman-like qualities who ain’t into twisting scripture. 😉

Lies are worthless and weak…when You do Your own investigative-research and find truth…You just don’t take any lies anymore…You Defend Truth With Truth!:)

8/14/18 @ 1:44 p.m.

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Avoiding Sinkholes—Life-Saving!

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Look out for the sinkholes!! The Muddy Sinkholes.

There is a muddy sinkhole. There is the right side of the muddy sinkhole. There is the left side of the muddy sinkhole. And, of course, there is the middle of the sinkhole.  Is positioning important? Is any perspective, place or position better?!  What about the epicenter?

NOPE! YOU’RE STILL IN A DEATH-DEALING SINKHOLE!!! ;( 🙁 🙁

No Matter…doesn’t matter right, left, middle…You’re still stuck in the MUD!…and You’re sinking!!!

People’s thinking and decision-making gets/is muddied…by symptoms/of sick systems of sinkholes.

This world/facade in which we find ourselves…is a system of things inside systems of things operating as sinkholes…through the centuries of man’s time on Earth. Specifically post-Eden.

People get so caught up in fragmented muddy picture of their own existence…and the existence of those the closest to them…that they fail to ascertain/realize/see (because they are blinded—by mud)—that they are mal-functioning in a sinkhole.

The current framework of entire human society is a sinkhole.  The significant topography of the sinkhole: political, commercial, and religious elements of this world…are moribund!

Don’t be fooled by the mudslingers and their fake smiles…who ride the top of the mud-wave in white-starchy shirts…whose feet are slipping and sliding…before their imminent crash.

boom! (and who(??) hack the site of seemingly helpless little girl, eh?)…

Let me further explain by a narrative and excerpted readings to help wipe any mud out of Your eyes Dear Worthy Of Real Life Reader:)

You think You know Your Friends??…Do You know Your Enemy?!

(the following excerpt…highlights the Wise-Biblical Precedent of NOT highlighting killers and mass murderers and giving them undue attention and glory/fame and name through media exposure/promotion, etc.)

(my highlights) Read on IF You:) want…to learn something of value aka eye-opening & life-cleaning-saving…that will lift You outta the mind (& other) mud…(FYI: “Yahweh” is the personal name of True Almighty God/Creator (designation found 7,000 times in the Bible), “Jehovah” is the English translation of said name…accepted by many Biblical Scholars.)

E.g., My friends know me by my personal name, joan/ie. (There is nothing objectionable about using a person’s name, right?) It makes sense. Those who have a relationship with me use my name freely. It’s practical, logical to do so.  Same with God. We need to specifically distinguish which “God”…we worship, know, have a relationship with or not. There are lots of people. There are lots of gods. God, president, king…job titles…don’t tell me anything about the “specific” person/personality occupying said position of authority.

(Whether we accept certain (higher/superlative) authorities or not…they exist. No matter who You are or where You happen to live…there are taxes and paychecks…and somebody to answer to about something: a boss, a parent, a spouse, a reader? etc.)

Let’s hose off some mud shall we?…Sorry, but the water pressure has to be high/strong/uncomfortable to be effective…OUCH...temporary pain leads to permanent wellness…spiritually speaking for now.

ADAM no doubt knew that serpents cannot talk. So he may have surmised that a spirit creature had spoken with Eve through the serpent. (Gen. 3:1-6) Adam and Eve knew virtually nothing about this spirit. Even so, Adam made a conscious choice to turn his back on his loving heavenly Father and join this stranger in resisting God’s will. (1 Tim. 2:14) Immediately, Jehovah began to reveal information about this enemy who had corrupted Adam and Eve, promising that this wicked one would eventually be destroyed. But Jehovah also warned that for a time, the spirit creature who spoke through the serpent would have the power to oppose those who love God.​—Gen. 3:15.

2, 3. Why, apparently, was little said about Satan before the Messiah arrived?

In his wisdom, Jehovah has never told us the personal name of the angelic son who rebelled against him. And God chose not to reveal even the descriptive name of that enemy until some 2,500 years after the initial rebellion. (Job 1:6) In fact, only three books of the Hebrew Scriptures, 1 Chronicles, Job, and Zechariah, mention Satan, which means “Resister.” Why was little said about our enemy prior to the arrival of the Messiah?

Apparently, Jehovah did not want to give Satan undue prominence by devoting large portions of the Hebrew Scriptures to discussing him and his activity. Jehovah’s primary purpose for inspiring that section of the Scriptures was to identify the Messiah and lead God’s people to him. (Luke 24:44; Gal. 3:24) When that was accomplished and the Messiah arrived, Jehovah used him and his disciples to reveal much of what we know about Satan and the angels who joined him. That is fitting, since it is Jesus and his anointed corulers whom Jehovah will use to crush Satan and his followers.​—Rom. 16:20; Rev. 17:14; 20:10.

4. Why should we not be overly anxious about the Devil?

The apostle Peter describes Satan the Devil as “a roaring lion,” and John calls him a “serpent” and a “dragon.” (1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:9) But there is no need to be overly anxious about the Devil​—his power is limited(Read James 4:7.) We are backed by Jehovah, Jesus, and the faithful angels. With their help, we can resist our enemy. Still, we need to know the answers to three key questions: What is the extent of Satan’s influence? How does he try to exert that influence on individuals? And what are the limits of his power? As we discuss these questions, we will also consider the lessons we can learn.

5, 6. Why can human governments not bring about the changes mankind needs most?

A significant number of angels joined Satan’s rebellion. Prior to the Flood, Satan lured at least some of them into having immoral relations with the daughters of men. The Bible reveals this truth by symbolically portraying the dragon as dragging a third of the stars of heaven with him in his fall. (Gen. 6:1-4; Jude 6; Rev. 12:3, 4) When those angels abandoned God’s family, they put themselves on Satan’s side as opposers of God’s will. These rebels, however, are not just a mob of troublemakers. Satan has set up an imitation of God’s Kingdom, with himself as king. In the invisible realm, Satan has organized the demons into governments, given them authority, and made them world rulers.​—Eph. 6:12.

By means of his spirit organization, Satan exerts authority over all human governments. That fact was made plain when Satan showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth” and said: “I will give you all this authority and their glory, because it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” (Luke 4:5, 6) Despite Satan’s evil influence, many governments do a measure of good for their citizens. And individual rulers may have noble intentions. But no human government or individual ruler is capable of bringing about the changes mankind needs most.​—Ps. 146:3, 4; Rev. 12:12.

7. How does Satan use not only governments but also false religion and the commercial system? (See opening picture.)

Satan and the demons use not only governments but also false religion and the commercial system to mislead “the entire inhabited earth.” (Rev. 12:9) Through false religion, Satan promotes lies about Jehovah. In addition, the Devil seems determined to make as many people as possible forget God’s name. (Jer. 23:26, 27) As a result, sincere individuals who think that they are worshipping God are deceived into worshipping demons. (1 Cor. 10:20; 2 Cor. 11:13-15) Satan also promotes lies through the commercial system. For example, this system often teaches people that the best way to be happy is to pursue money and gather many possessions. (Prov. 18:11) Those who believe this lie spend their lives serving “Riches” rather than God. (Matt. 6:24) Eventually, their love of material things can choke any love they had for God.​—Matt. 13:22; 1 John 2:15, 16.

8, 9. (a) What two lessons may we learn from the accounts about Adam, Eve, and the rebellious angels? (b) What advantage do we gain from knowing the extent of Satan’s influence?

The examples of Adam, Eve, and the rebellious angels teach us at least two important lessons. First, there are only two sides, and we must choose one. Either we remain loyal to Jehovah or we place ourselves in Satan’s camp. (Matt. 7:13) Second, those who join Satan receive only limited benefits. Adam and Eve got the opportunity to set their own standards of good and bad, and the demons attained a measure of influence over human governments. (Gen. 3:22) However, the costs always outweigh any seeming benefits that Satan may offer.​—Job 21:7-17; Gal. 6:7, 8.

What advantage do we gain from knowing the extent of Satan’s influence? It helps us keep a balanced view of secular authorities and motivates us in our witnessing work. We understand that Jehovah wants us to respect governmental authorities. (1 Pet. 2:17) And he expects us to obey the laws of human governments as long as those laws do not conflict with his standards. (Rom. 13:1-4) But we realize that we must remain neutral, never favoring one political party or human leader over another. (John 17:15, 16; 18:36) Because we see what Satan is trying to do to Jehovah’s name and reputation, we feel more compelled to teach others the truth about our God. We proudly bear and use his name, knowing that loving him is far more rewarding than loving money or things.​—Isa. 43:10; 1 Tim. 6:6-10.

10-12. (a) How may Satan have used bait to trap his angelic brothers? (b) What lessons do we learn from the fall of many angels?

10 Satan uses effective methods to influence individuals. For example, he uses bait to lure them into doing things his way. Also, he attempts to bully them into submission.

11 Consider how effective Satan was in using bait to trap a large number of his angelic brothers. He must have studied them for a considerable time before luring them into taking sides with him. When at least some of these angels took the bait and had immoral relations with women, they produced a hybrid race that dominated mankind. (Gen. 6:1-4) Perhaps Satan tempted the disloyal angels not only with the opportunity for immoral sex but also with the promise of seizing power over mankind. His purpose may have been to disrupt the arrival of the promised ‘offspring of the woman.’ (Gen. 3:15) In any case, Jehovah ended all such plots by bringing the Flood​—a move that thwarted the efforts of Satan and the rebellious angels at that time.

12 What lessons can we learn from this incident? Never underestimate the lure of immorality or the danger of egotism. For aeons, the angels who joined Satan served in the very presence of God. Yet, even in such a good environment, many allowed bad desires to take root and grow. Similarly, we may have served for decades in the earthly part of God’s organization. Yet, even in this spiritually clean environment, unclean desires can take root. (1 Cor. 10:12) How important it is that we constantly search our heart, reject immoral thoughts, and suppress unhealthy pride!​—Gal. 5:26read Colossians 3:5.

13. What is another effective bait that Satan uses, and how can we avoid it?

13 Another effective bait that Satan uses is curiosity about the occult. Today, he promotes interest in the demons not only through false religion but also through the entertainment industry. Movies, electronic games, and other media make spiritism seem exciting. How can we avoid being caught in this trap? We should not expect God’s organization to supply a list of acceptable and unacceptable entertainment. Each of us needs to train his own conscience to be in harmony with God’s standards. (Heb. 5:14) However, we will make wise choices if we apply the apostle Paul’s inspired counsel to let our love for God “be without hypocrisy.” (Rom. 12:9) We could ask ourselves: ‘Will my choice of entertainment make me seem hypocritical? […] The more our speech and actions harmonize, the less likely we are to be caught in Satan’s snares.​—1 John 3:18.

15. Can Satan force us to act against our own will? Explain.

15 Satan cannot force people to act against their own will. (Jas. 1:14) Out of ignorance, many work in harmony with Satan’s purpose. But after they learn the truth, each one makes a choice as to whom he or she will serve. (Acts 3:17; 17:30) If we are resolved to do God’s will, there is nothing Satan can do to break our integrity.​—Job 2:3; 27:5.

16, 17. (a) What other limitations do Satan and the demons have? (b) Why should we not fear to pray out loud to Jehovah?

16 Satan and the demons have other limitations. For example, nowhere do the Scriptures indicate that they can read the mind or heart of an individual. Only Jehovah and Jesus are spoken of as having that ability. (1 Sam. 16:7; Mark 2:8) What, though, about speaking or praying out loud? Should we fear that the Devil or the demons might hear our prayers and interfere? The answer is no. Why not? We are not afraid to do good works in Jehovah’s service just because the Devil might see us. Likewise, we should not be afraid to pray out loud just because the Devil might hear us. In fact, the Bible contains many examples of God’s servants who prayed out loud, and there is no hint that these ones feared that the Devil would hear them. (1 Ki. 8:22, 23; John 11:41, 42; Acts 4:23, 24) If we do our best to speak and act in harmony with God’s will, we can be confident that Jehovah will not allow the Devil to do us any lasting harm.​—Read Psalm 34:7.

17 We need to know our enemy, but we do not need to be terrified by him. With Jehovah’s backing, even imperfect humans can conquer Satan. (1 John 2:14) If we oppose him, he will flee from us. (Jas. 4:7;1 Pet. 5:9) [excerpted reading: 2 May 2018, “Know Your Enemy”]

For me, i accept… simply put: there is the real and there is the imitation. The good is organized. The evil organized. Organizations fall into these two categories of functioning…results positive/life-sustaining; results negative/deadly.

Succinctly speaking…it comes down to life or death.

i choose life!:)

questions for reflections:

will i let my own ignorance sink me??

is my love without hypocrisy??

do i ignorantly support demons??

do i consciously support TRUTH??

am i living the truth??

am i die-ing… lies??

who’s ultimate authority do i accept in my life??

do i support Yahweh’s earthly organization??

how do i lift myself out of the mud??

who’s example do i follow??

am i filling my spiritual need with occult poison/junk food??

evil men??

good men??

false messiahs??

true messiah??

am i reading the Bible daily??

what organization on earth follows primitive/(untainted/uncorrupted) Christianity as found outlined/exemplified in the Bible??

am i letting myself be bullied by muddy bullies??

am i staying mud-free aka blood-free by remaining politically neutral in thinking, speech, and actions??

Satan’s schemes are the tricks and methods he uses as he tries to break our loyalty to Jehovah. For example, he uses immorality, curiosity about the supernatural, and fear.

8/7/18 @ 3:33 p.m.
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