The Failure of Religion

This week, the 24th May 2022, after being sentenced to 6 years in prison in Russia Denis Christensen was released from a Russian prison.

His offence? he was labelled an extremist and dangerous to the State of Russia, I enjoyed reading one description of him a “passive terrorist”, call it what you will this is a contradiction in terms.

He had paid his taxes, kept the laws of the land, however, his faith made him an enemy of the state. This stance was promoted by the Russian Orthodox Church leaders.

Why is this simply echoing the position of other religious movements? Jesus taught his followers to love one another, although singled out for persecution by the religious leaders of his day he didn’t say to his disciples campaign to stop them, or become involved in the political system to protect your own interests.

The principle that guides Jehovah’s Witnesses globally reflects the words of the Apostles who are recorded as saying at Acts 5: 29 “In answer Peter and the other apostles said: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men”

At Jesus death the religious leaders aligned themselves with the state and the same applies today. Religions and the Political infrastructure are linked. For example in China the Communist Party now have a say in the appointment of Catholic Bishops.

In the UK Parliament Religious Leaders sit in the House of Lords, spend time criticizing the Government but what did Jesus advocate? Matthew 6: 33 “Keep on, then, seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.

Which Kingdom? Matthew 6: 9 “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.11 Give us today our bread for this day;12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’” God’s Kingdom.

Religions around the world fail to point to this the only hope of salvation. Using their political influence to silence and obstruct those who make it plain, we are not in control of our destiny we need external support and Jesus died for us to get that support.

So remember the words James 4: 4 “Adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God”

We are no part of the political system as Christians because we promote God’s Kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ. The countries we live in are just places to be, and supporting the religious movement of nationalism is evidence of Religion forming and alliance with those who will battle against God’s Kingdom. Religion is described in Revelation as a Harlot riding on a wild beast who will be destroyed by that beast. It is really worth examining whether we are part of the wild beast, the harlot or those whom they wage war against.

Prayerfully consider where we want to be on God’s side on going down with the billions of followers of false religion.

Jesus made it clear when he said at Matthew 7: 13 “Go in through the narrow gate, because broad is the gate and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are going in through it;14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are finding it.

If we find it easy to be a Christian today, if we discover our views are popular with those around us then we need to examine which gate we have accessed and turn around if we need to.

This means everlasting life – getting to KNOW God and Jesus Christ

The time left is very short so examine the bible for ourselves and don’t let religions drag us into a war with God by opposing those who serve him faithfully.

We rejoice in the release of someone faithful and remember all of those who continue to be persecuted by the state supported by the religious leaders, this include Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Communism and Nationalism

Let the truth of the Bible set us free and may we live forever because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf.

“The undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ be with the spirit you show, brothers. Amen.”

Freedom from Oppression

Historically there is evidence to suggest that as one form of oppression wanes another form starts, it has become like a fashion.

Since the dawn of civilisation others have decided they will dominate their neighbours. Often exploiting the fact that the majority do not stand up for themselves.

There is a parable that comes to mind – there are two wolves locked in a bitter struggle, fighting everyday, which one will win – the one you feed most. We can see that governments, religions and poswerful commercial elements have fed oppression. Why? because the oppressor has one goal to dominate another person and cause harm. Note the words at Ecclesiates 8: 9 “All of this I have seen, and I applied my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, during the time that man has dominated man to his harm.”

Is Freedom really possible?

Wherever we live on this planet we are controlled and our lives are managed by authorities, businesses and the propaganda that bombards us all. We are trapped in a cycle of allowing others to set the standards for us.

This week in the USA the great debate continues over abortion, who has the right to terminate the life of the unborn child? Does the unborn child have rights? Does the mother have an overriding say in the freedom to do what she wants with this life?

The way we live now has placed so many conflicting demands on all of us that the result is we can only look at short term solutions. Seek what is best for us as an individual. This is a real conflict. It exists because we die, always too soon and with so much unfulfilled. Therefore taking 20 years out to look after an unplanned child, or having a support circle that can help with raising the child is challenging to find.

The dilemma of true slavery. We are not enslaved or held captive by people but by death! An often quoted statement is there are two things certain in life – death and taxes are as accurate today as when they were first spoken.

We need freedom from Death to End all forms of Oppression!

Weare slaves of sin. The wages of Sin are described as death, therefore, death is the enemy. Once we have clear understanding of the real issues we see the importance of the Apostle Pauls words to the congregation in Rome. Romans 6: 6 “For we know that our old personality was nailed to the stake along with him in order for our sinful body to be made powerless, so that we should no longer go on being slaves to sin.”

So relief from oppression begins with us. We have to change our personality, to discover the real freedom that Jesus spoke of the freedom of the sons of god we need to examine the bible for ourselves.

Be clear oppression, being oppress is a choice, we can opt out. How well refer to the Bible Teachings or review the study aid “Enjoy Life Forever” know the truth and the truth will set you free Jesus stated and that is the beginning of freedom from oppression.

The Blind See!

Jesus asked the Disciples of John the Baptist to let him know that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy in recorded in Isaiah 29: 18 “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the book, And out of the gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.”

It is interesting that today the Blind can see and the deaf hear – Jesus’ message is achieving something that individuals continue to strive for – real freedom – through the truth. Notice what his words express in John 8: 31 Then Jesus went on to say to the Jews who had believed him: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples,32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

A time of new hope and life

Role as the Ransom

The UK recently paid a sum to Iran – defined as a debt for the release of two detainees. That debt payment was the cost of their freedom, yes it was the ransom that had to be paid.

Humankind deliberately stepped away from God, and what that achieved created a substantial debt. The balance of the payment was beyond the collective contribution of all those who have ever lived.

Humans who want to restore their relationship with God must balance the scales of Justice and we must willingly pay that price for our freedom.

Adam sacrificed perfect human life for self-determination and the right to ignore Jehovah God, he looked for independence, he bought it and we’re stuck with it. It is like having the best health possible and deciding to get infected with a deadly virus.

To restore good health it is going to take some action.

Jesus became that ransom, he sacrificed his perfect life to buy those who wanted to restore what we had at first. Like the voluntary act of Adam to surrender that good condition Jesus voluntarily gave his whole life. He ceased to exist.

The healing today

Understanding the meaning of the sacrifice is so important – he died so we may live, but not just in the future, live right now.

We enjoy freedom from:

  • false teachings
  • traditions
  • confused moral standards
  • despair

Knowing why we need the ransom is critical, on Friday 15th April your local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses commemorates the death of Jesus in line with the admonition in Luke 22: 19 “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.”​ They invite you to locate and attend the closest meeting where the significance of this sacrifice is explained.

How we respond to the ransom that has been paid is evidence of our desire to be healed at this time. Spiritual blindness cripples the world leaders, society and destroys hope, stopped up ears achieve a result that ultimately leads to disaster.

Jesus made the point clearly our hope and freedom is based on remaining in his word – to find out more attend the Memorial of Jesus’ Death in your community, if you can’t get to the venue ask Jehovah’s Witnesses to provide you with access to a streamed event and participate through the online connection.

This is the most important date of the year for Christians because at his death Jesus established our opportunity for redemption and everlasting life, he restored our sight and unstopped our ears, healed us spiritually. Take advantage of the opportunity to find out more and discuss the importance of this day.

Is Social Justice Achievable?

Social Justice highway sign Social Justice printed on green overhead highway sign with one way arrow social justice stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Thousands have set their sights on Social Justice as the answer to many of society’s inequalities and failures. On the face of it, this appears to be laudable and yet the consequences are seen in cities across the globe.

Rising crime, poor housing due to investment failures and social migration. The geopolitical impact leaves the disadvantaged to fight for survival and a meaningless battle of rhetoric is fought on college and university campuses, town halls, schools and on the streets.

The definition presents 4 principles:

  • Equity
  • Access
  • Participation
  • Rights

What does this mean?

This places the individual at the centre of their personal universe, they are entitled just because. But notice something that the Bible teaches about true freedom and equality. The contrasting models of Freedom that is based on responsibilities, loyalty and love with the choice Adam made following selfish interests.

Genesis 1: 26 “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

Very clear Humans created in God’s image with freedom of choice and a clear duty of care. The caretaker of the home for life on earth.

Freedom, Royalty-free Freedom Vector Images & Drawings | Depositphotos®
Breaking the shackles of Social Justice for true freedom

God went further in verse 29: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food:30 and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.

Now that seems very fair look after the home and expand it, develop it with your children.

So free will and purpose! Achieving the balance we all seek.

Was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil a test?

Genesis 2: 9 “And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2 16 “And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

At first, it may appear that way. Think about it in these terms, you enter a supermarket to shop for daily provisions, you want basic food and the isles have thousands of varieties all branded and high quality. You head to the checkout, see in another trolley/cart a product another shopper has bought and you decide to take that rather than go back to shelves and collect the product. It is the same but it belongs to the other shopper.

God said to Adam and Eve that tree is mine, all the other trees are yours. They decided that they wanted that tree as well. So naturally, it isn’t going to end well. They knew the cost.

So why the desire to steal from God?

Genesis 3: 2 “And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

So “the serpent” identified by Jesus as Satan the Devil stated God’s knows if you take the product from his shopping cart he can do nothing about it because you’ll be just like him. He is withholding something that is really your right.

Humanity Gets Social Justice

So the human family achieved the desired independence – rights, access, equity. We share the same outcome as Adam and Eve, pain suffering and death. Participation mostly definitely, humans destroy humanity and the planet we live on.

But is Social Justice True Justice?

No!

True justice is focused on the obligations we have to family, friends and these form society and gel together based on the principles found in the Bible.

It is simple, we can’t be like God! We don’t have the knowledge or capacity to be like God and we certainly need assistance to sort out problems.

So what was the conclusion or solution to our problems? let one of the wisest men summarise that for us Ecclesiastes 12: 13 “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole obligation of man.14 For the true God will judge every deed, including every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.”

Now let Jesus the wisest human explain what we need to do Matthew 22: 37 “He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”

And those who want true justice and real freedom John 13: 34 “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”

True Christians promote:

  • Obedience
  • Obilgation
  • Love
  • Responsibility
  • Gods Kingdom
  • Peace
  • Unity
  • Family
  • Freedom

You can find out more about the real issues because we are in a time of decision and the informed choice is so important. Many dismiss the bible because of what they see but those who read it and appreciate that salvation is dependent on what others do but on our choices recognise that now is the time to make that choice. The invitation Christ made was be my follower and choose to Enjoy Life Forever.

Do not miss that opportunity because time is running out as it did for Adam and Eve when they exercised their friend choosing independence and alienation from our Creator Jehovah God.

God’s Kingdom – where do you stand?

Elections affecting local populations are designed to keep representation of the individual at the heart of government. Has any Government really been able to achieve that?

Establishing an education system that is free to all, sufficient food and worthwhile work for everyone? How about housing and dealing with crime, public health and mental wellbeing? All of these objectives elude governments! Why? Basically the ruling party has to ensure they keep their voters happy.

What is the difference with God’s Kingdom?

3 key points:

  • Dedicated citizens
  • Focus on Peace and Unity
  • Everlasting Kingdom

Voting for God’s Kingdom requires every individual to maintain a standard of conduct that puts others in first place, that advocates look to be kind, considerate, loving, law abiding even when laws don’t appear to make sense. Find out more about how to vote for God’s Kingdom with your life following this link.

It brings peace and unity to those who act as advocates of it and this will cover the whole earth.

It is a kingdom that will rule forever. No short term immediate fix at the cost of the silent majority. Our lives in God’s hands will be so different.

One big problem for Human Governments

The fact that bad government is limited to a fixed term in the sense of the lifetime of leader it also means that good government is limited.

Power corrupts we are told but that isn’t the full truth. Power enables, facilitates and rewards citizens when in the right hands and exercised in the right way.

So all human government is short lived. Contrast that with the thought recorded at Daniel 2: 44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom 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,”

God’s Kingdom reduces the human governments to nothing.

Who is the king? Let Jesus answer in his own words at John 18: 36, “Jesus answered: “My Kingdom is no part of this world. If my Kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not from this source.”

We need to decide who we will support God’s Kingdom or those who set themselves against God’s Kingdom, a simple choice Philippians 1: 28 “and in no way being frightened by your opponents. This very thing is a proof of destruction for them, but of salvation for you; and this is from God.”

Jesus gave signs for those interested in serving under a king who is looking for the best conditions for his subjects and one of the key he raised as identifying this time before sudden destruction comes is Matthew 24: 14 “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Yes the Kingdom is Good News for humanity but the choice is do we vote for it with our lives – those who reject forfeit life, those who advocate it gain everlasting life. Read more in the article linked here – When Will God’s Kingdom Rule the Earth?

Free will still counts – many say that the destruction of those who don’t want God’s rulership is unkind, unloving and unjust. That isn’t the case. Recently a Hire Purchase company recovered a vehicle a young person had started payments on. The young person decided they no longer wanted to pay the premiums and started to enjoy the vehicle on that basis. When he put it in for service at the only place it could be serviced the company took steps to recover their vehicle.

Was this unreasonable? Should they give the young person the car without requiring that the young person keep up the repayments? Of course not!

The young person exercised their free will and decided not to pay for the vehicle, the consequence had to play out, the vehicle was recovered.

How is that similar to us? We exist because of basic principles of science, if we fail to accept the origin of those principles when held to account are we in a position to prevent the creator from balancing things out. Of course not.

So be clear we have a choice to make, the consequence is simple – life or death, peace and unity or discord and the continued abuse of power.

Which would you prefer? I cast my vote 45 years ago and have never regretted accepting the Kingdom of God and it is time for us to say loud and clear “Let it come!”

Preparing for Harder Times

As we continue experience going issues with COVID19 and watch it devastate economies, communities, families and faith. How are we (Christians) preparing for the harder times prophesied by Jesus and the Apostle Paul (Matthew 24: 7 – 14; 2 Timothy 3: 1 – 5;)

Our faith is being challenged in so many ways – for example direct action by the state has limited the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia – follow the link JW-Russia.org. This is an example of the direct fulfilment of Jesus words at Matthew 24: 9 “Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name.

So how do we build our faith and resilience to face these difficult times?

Keep On the Watch!

Jesus explained that those who saw and understood the sign of his would Matthew 24: 42 “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”

We should expect these things because as verse 8 informs us: “All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress.

So we begin by recognizing that we live in challenging times, that the evidence points to Christ’s presence in Kingdom Power and God’s Kingdom has started to rule amidst its enemies.

Three parts to preparation

  1. John 17: 3 – Get to know Jehovah God and his Son Jesus – personally.
  2. Romans 6: 12, Accept the value of Christs Sacrifice because through it we are being saved. Note the verse: “That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned
  3. 1 Peter 3: 21 for those who accept the ransom that has been paid we dedicate our lives to God and get baptized. Note the verse: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Never hide your faith

As a young person the hardest lesson to learn was that everyone knew I was different for a reason and they expected me to live up to that. Something I really struggled to do. However, one point that became apparent the less I tried to hide my faith the easier it became to live up to it.

Many years on and it is a privilege to be known for being a person not only with a faith in god but a person “of faith”.

Here is why – 1 John 5: 3 “For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome,” and verse 4 provides this assurance “because everyone who has been born from God conquers the world. And this is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith.

Keeping Gods commandments now means that when our faith is tested we prove that Hebrews 10: 39 is true in our case: “Now we are not the sort who shrink back to destruction, but the sort who have faith for the preserving of our lives.”

SO we prepare now for difficult times ahead and those we experience today so that we know that it will be said we did “JUST SO!” and that we have “CONQUERED THE WORLD”

Need to build that strong faith – start by regular bible reading download a schedule, need a bible in your language then look at the New World Translation and the range of languages it is available in. Download a free copy.

Need assistance then free online lessons because without knowledge of God – Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ we have no hope for salvation and preparing for an uncertain future is like staring into the abyss.

Do not rely on humans, governments or science, turn to the only source of truth the Bible and let it set you free.