11/14/17 @ 9:07 p.m.
Recent Readings…check it out:)..no time to discuss; just time to copy & paste…article: “Paradise on Earth—Fantasy or Reality?” W No. 4 2017…enJOY…(Happy Sunday to You Reader!:))
Paradise! Colorful travel brochures make tempting offers for us to fly away to some distant “paradise” to relax and forget all our worries and troubles. But as we know all too well, when we return home, the realities of life remain much the same as they were when we left them.
Over the centuries, people have been intrigued by the idea of paradise. For many, their interest was prompted by the mention in the Bible of “a garden in Eden, toward the east.” What made that garden so attractive? The account tells us: “Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food.” That garden was a pleasing and good place. Most captivating of all, there was “also the tree of life in the middle of the garden.”—Genesis 2:8, 9.
In addition, the Genesis account mentions four rivers flowing out of the garden. Two of those rivers are still known to us today—the Tigris (or, Hiddekel) and the Euphrates. (Genesis 2:10-14; footnote) These two rivers flow into the Persian Gulf through what is now Iraq, formerly part of ancient Persia.
Understandably, earthly paradise is very much a part of Persia’s cultural heritage. A 16th-century Persian carpet, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., shows a walled garden with trees and flowers woven into its design. The Persian word for “walled garden” also means “paradise,” and the scene on the carpet mirrors the Bible’s description of the beautiful and luxuriant garden of Eden.
In fact, stories of paradise are retold in many languages and cultures around the world. As the human family migrated to different parts of the earth, they carried with them versions of the original account, which, over centuries of time, became blended with beliefs and legends that developed locally. Even today, people almost instinctively describe places of great natural beauty as paradise.
Some explorers claimed to have located the lost paradise. For example, Charles Gordon, a British army general, on visiting the Seychelles in 1881, was so impressed by the luxuriant beauty of the Vallée de Mai—now a World Heritage site—that he declared it to be the garden of Eden. In the 15th century, Italian navigator Christopher Columbus wondered if he was close to rediscovering the Edenic garden when he landed on the island of Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Mapping Paradise, a modern history book, contains details of more than 190 ancient maps, many showing Adam and Eve in Eden. Among them is an unusual map from a 13th-century copy of the Beatus of Liébana manuscript. At its top is a small rectangle with paradise in the center. From there flow four rivers, labeled “Tigris,” “Eufrates,” “Pison,” and “Geon,” each to one of its four corners, supposedly representing the spread of Christianity to the four corners of the earth. Such depictions show that although the location of the original Paradise was unknown, memories of it evidently remained as attractive as ever.
John Milton, a 17th-century English poet, is known for his poem Paradise Lost, based on the Genesis account of Adam’s sin and expulsion from Eden. In it he highlighted the promised restoration of everlasting life on earth for humans, declaring: “For then the earth shall all be paradise.” Subsequently, Milton wrote a sequel entitled Paradise Regained.
Clearly, the concept of a lost earthly paradise is a golden thread running through human history. So why is it now ignored? Basically because, as Mapping Paradise observes, “theologians have . . . turned their back firmly on the issue of the location of paradise.”
Most churchgoers are taught that their ultimate destiny is heaven, not life in an earthly paradise. Yet the Bible says at Psalm 37:29: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.” Since our world today is hardly a paradise, what hope is there that this promise will ever be fulfilled?
Paradise Earth-Wide Will Be a Reality…
Jehovah God, who created the original Paradise, has promised to restore what was lost. How? Recall that Jesus taught us to pray: “Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matthew 6:10) That Kingdom is a world government in the hands of Jesus Christ that will replace all human rule. (Daniel 2:44) Under the rule of that Kingdom, God’s will regarding a paradise earth will “take place.”
Why can we be sure that the hope of Paradise on earth is not fantasy but reality? Because the Bible tells us: “As for the heavens, they belong to Jehovah, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” The hope of Paradise on earth is one that “God, who cannot lie, promised long ago.” (Psalm 115:16; Titus 1:2) What a wonderful prospect the Bible offers—Paradise forever!
This topic “Eden” has been more than a fascination, for me, for years…check out this related reading IF You choose:
Peace & Paradise to You Reader:)
4/9/17 @ 11:35 a.m.
What ticks You off?? (me?) This: the following (statistics/World Values Survey) provoked this post (published 3/19/14 @ 4:04 p.m.):
“in 29 countries around the world, one-third or more of men say it can be acceptable for a husband to “beat his wife.” Perhaps more surprising: In 19 countries, one-third or more of women agree that a husband who beats his wife may be justified, at least some of the time.”
“The data come from polling performed from 2010 through 2014 for the World Values Survey — an extensive study of attitudes in almost 100 countries, conducted on an ongoing basis since 1981. The study is led by an international network of researchers based in Stockholm.”
“The cultural acceptance of spousal abuse can be so pervasive that in some countries, large majorities of women say it’s acceptable. In Rwanda, 96 percent of women say the practice can be justified, according to the World Values Survey. About two-thirds of women in India and South Africa feel the same way. The attitude is also held by large shares of women in countries across the religious and cultural spectra — China, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines and Uzbekistan, to cite a few.”
More than 1 in 4 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hand of a husband or intimate partner, the World Health Organization reported in 2013. In sub-Saharan Africa, the share is about 2 in 3, and in North America, it’s 1 in 5. Excerpted NPR: Alarming Number Of Women Think Spousal Abuse Is Sometimes OK
Poetry can be a reflection of values. The First Man/Husband, Adam, spoke this poem about the First Woman/Wife, Eve: Genesis 2:15-25:
Jehovah God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eʹden to cultivate it and to take care of it.16 Jehovah God also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction.17 But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 Then Jehovah God said: “It is not good for the man to continue to be alone. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.”19 Now Jehovah God had been forming from the ground every wild animal of the field and every flying creature of the heavens, and he began bringing them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man would call each living creature, that became its name.20 So the man named all the domestic animals and the flying creatures of the heavens and every wild animal of the field, but for man there was no helper as a complement of him. 21 So Jehovah God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took one of his ribs and then closed up the flesh over its place. 22 And Jehovah God built the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman, and he brought her to the man.
23 Then the man said:
“This is at last bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh.
This one will be called Woman,
Because from man she was taken.”
24 That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to*(remain with) his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 And both of them continued to be naked,the man and his wife; yet they were not ashamed.
Read this sweet/logical way of putting the male/female relationship into words:
Man and woman have always yearned to be together. This originated with God. Man and woman are designed to occupy dignified roles in God’s arrangement. (excerpted: Man and Woman–Made for Each Other)
However, this is what we see in many instances/relationships:
Today, however, families are breaking apart, and the relationship between man and woman is often abusive or governed by selfishness. A spirit of competition between the sexes has contributed to conflict and discord. All of this is contrary to God’s purpose for man and woman. Man was designed to fill a wonderful role on earth. Woman was to occupy a unique and worthy place at man’s side. They were to work together in harmony. (excerpted: Man and Woman–Made for Each Other)
A lack of love and a lack of respect…poison to relationships!..(which often leads to all kinds of abuses.)
When both men and women (are willing to) learn unselfishness and compassion…they (can) cultivate qualities within themselves (with (God’s) help) such as: (my highlights)
“They have learned to convey their thoughts and feelings to each other honestly, yet kindly, by cultivating and displaying insight, love, deep respect, and humility. When these fundamental qualities characterize a marriage, the lines of communication are always open.”
i enJOYed reading this practical/logical counsel for both male/female to treat each other in the manner they would like to be treated (or spoken to):
[…] likely you want to be treated with dignity and respect. You appreciate it when others listen to you and care about how you feel. But have you ever heard a person say, “I am going to do to him what he did to me”? Sometimes this reaction is understandable. However, the Bible tells us: “Do not say: ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me.’” (Proverbs 24:29) Jesus taught people the best way to handle difficult situations. What Jesus said is often called the Golden Rule: “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them.” (Luke 6:31) Jesus meant that we should treat people the way we would like to be treated, not the way they treat us. This means that we need to put into our marriage what we hope to get out of it.
15 Couples strengthen their relationship when they truly care about each other’s feelings. “We have tried to put the Golden Rule into practice,” says a husband in South Africa. “True, there are times when we’re upset, but we have worked hard to treat each other the way we would like to be treated—with respect and dignity.”
16 Do not reveal your mate’s weaknesses to others or keep complaining about traits that upset you, not even as a joke. Remember that marriage is not a competition to prove who is stronger, who can shout louder, or who can say something that hurts the most. True, all of us are imperfect and sometimes upset others. But there is never a good reason for a couple to make each other feel ashamed, to use hurtful words when speaking to each other or, worse, to push or hit each other.—Read Proverbs 17:27; 31:26.
17 In some cultures, men bully or hit their wives to prove that they are strong. But the Bible says: “The one slow to anger is better than a mighty man, and the one controlling his temper than one conquering a city.” (Proverbs 16:32) A person needs great inner strength to show self-control as did Jesus Christ, the greatest man who ever lived. A man who bullies or hits his wife is a weak man who will lose his relationship with Jehovah. The psalmist David, who was a strong and courageous man, said: “Be agitated, but do not sin. Have your say in your heart, upon your bed, and keep silent.”—Psalm 4:4. (Build a Strong & Happy Marriage w15 1/15 pp. 15-20)
Sadly, some have been educated to believe/practice that aggression/violence/abuse/dominance is strength. “A man who bullies or hits his wife is weak […]” (i’d say the same about a woman who bullies or hits is weak.) Boys and girls both need compassion education aka lessons/examples (worthy of imitation) of true love/agape, forgiveness and kindness, self-control in the home at an early age (and beyond)…for the culture of hate/violence/abuse to stop! All of us, young-old, male-female need to learn and appreciate the value of compassion!:)
PLEASE people, can’t we all show love and respect, forgiveness to each other every day?:) All of us, including myself very much, can improve…making more compassionate choices of speech and action. We may not agree or understand each other completely/fully…our thinking/belief system(s), vocabulary, etc…however, all beautiful-breathing-fragile-life on this beautiful planet deserves dignity, respect, love, education, patience, compassion.
(i was thinking/meditating about “humility”…a humble person isn’t insulting and doesn’t get insulted easily.) Taking ourselves a little less seriously…laughing it off helps, huh? (a value of mine: laughter & Chato makes me laugh!:)
A humble person is willing to see where they need to tweak/adjust, a humble person is willing to accept help…(in its various forms) and from whomever. (It takes courage, choice, compassion to accept change and/or take action and/or accept help.)
It’s so commendable/inspiring/(encouraging to me) when i learn/hear/see “positive” changes some have made in their lives that have benefitted themselves (and their families) tremendously: the following video caught my attention:
Am i Happy??
Logic (simple science) & circumstance including trajectory (simple math) tell me: under no context whatsoever would we ever come together or be together or know each other…Divine (Yahweh) Intervention creates platform and context and compass and unity…absolutely!:)
Divine compassion breaks all barriers.
When i choose to (unselfishly) Love You (Fellow-Beautiful-Breathing-Fragile-Life) and Forgive You (aka not making issues out of non-issues)…i’m breakin’ barriers. Barriers of communication. Barriers of peace. Barriers of Unity. People can change…their world. (i LOVE reading about positive changes in the lives of fellow-fragile-life…i find it inspiring/encouraging in my personal, daily fight for compassion.)
Life is full of compassion challenges and each of us has the power to choose….to choose kind/unselfishness!:)
Yet..It’s a Topsy Turvy World…is its end coming?? You know, will man”cruel” (aka those not pursuing peace) just kill one another off?…Read this recently:
When you hear the words “The end is near!” what comes to mind? Do you think of a wild-eyed preacher thundering from the pulpit and gesturing dramatically, Bible in hand? Or do you picture a bearded old man standing on a street corner, wearing a long robe tied at the waist with a rope, holding a sign bearing a doomsday message? Imagining such scenes may make some people feel concerned, while others may feel skeptical or even amused.
Some get sad when things come to an end…but, endings can often mean fresh starts, new beginnings, new journeys, new experiences, new learnings, new growth…Again, read this with much interest:
WHAT THE END IS NOT
THE END IS NOT AN EPIC, FLAMING DESTRUCTION OF THE EARTH.
The Bible states: “[God] has established the earth on its foundations; it will not be moved from its place forever and ever.” (Psalm 104:5) That scripture and others assure us that God will neither destroy the earth nor allow it to be destroyed—ever!—Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 45:18.
THE END IS NOT A RANDOM, UNSCHEDULED EVENT.
The Bible reveals that the end is scheduled—God has set a specific time for it. We read: “Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father. Keep looking, keep awake, for you do not know when the appointed time is.” (Mark 13:32, 33) Clearly, God (“the Father”) has scheduled the exact “appointed time” when he will initiate the end.
THE END IS NOT TRIGGERED BY HUMANS OR BY DEBRIS HURTLING THROUGH SPACE.
What will bring about the end? Revelation 19:11 says: “I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse. And the one seated on it is called Faithful and True.” Verse 19 continues: “And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.” (Revelation 19:11-21) Though much of the language here is symbolic, we can readily discern this much: God will send an army of angelic creatures to exterminate his enemies.
Who wouldn’t want the end of pain, misery, corrupt government or the end to their personal nightmare reality?…(doesn’t everybody want/need (and/or seek) relief of one sort or another or another? (Yep, getting repetitious;)
Check it out IF You choose…to read on: “What the End Is”…excerpted:
WHAT THE END IS
- THE END OF FAILING HUMAN GOVERNMENTS.
The Bible explains: “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom [government] that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44) As was stated earlier, in point 3, there will be an extermination of “the kings of the earth and their armies,” who will have “gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.”—Revelation 19:19.
- THE END OF WAR, VIOLENCE, AND INJUSTICE.
“[God] is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth.” (Psalm 46:9) “Only the upright will reside in the earth, and the blameless will remain in it. As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous will be torn away from it.” (Proverbs 2:21, 22) “Look! I am making all things new.”—Revelation 21:4, 5.
- THE END OF RELIGIONS THAT HAVE FAILED GOD AND HUMANS.
“The prophets prophesy lies, and the priests dominate by their own authority. . . . But what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:31) “Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’”—Matthew 7:21-23. (excerpts from Article: Is the End Near? W May 2015)
Life after…the end of: corruption, injustice, pain, misery, violence…A BEAUTIFUL Beginning; A Breakthrough; a New Leaf!:)
(published 2/23/15 @9:43a.m.)