(Once again, this is reconstructed from my notes, some of which I can't now read. So I hope its all accurate if not complete).
HOW GODLY WISDOM BENEFITS US
C.O Talk 2nd November 1014
The Speaker started with an illustration about being with our mother in our childhood kitchen. She has cooked something for us and we refuse to taste it, on the grounds that we don't like it. Reasonably she asks us how we can know if we like it or not if we refuse even to taste it.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
He was comparing this with the attitude many people today have towards the Bible. They reject it without even finding out what it contains. Many people now would feel it is old-fashioned, simply out of date. But have they actually read it?
We live in what is called an "enlightened age", so probably many people feel they have no need for guidance. We have it sorted. But... while we are so grateful for so many of the wonderful advances in science and medicine etc, there is a flipside. Something is terribly wrong. We only have to look at the news.
Why can we not get it right? The Speaker then read Jeremiah 8:9: "The wise have been put to shame. They have become terrified and will be caught. Look! They have rejected the word of Jehovah, And what wisdom do they have?"
They have rejected the word of Jehovah - so what wisdom they have?
The Speaker then read us Jesus' words at Matthew 11:18,19: "Likewise, John came neither eating nor drinking, but people say, ‘He has a demon.' The Son of man did come eating and drinking, but people say, ‘Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by its works.”"
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
The Speaker talked about what the world offers to our young ones, and what happens if you go along with it. He read Proverbs 13:20: "The one walking with the wise will become wise, But the one who has dealings with the stupid will fare badly."
The world can make it seem that the moral standards set out in God's word are old-fashioned and restrictive - yet they are for our good, for our protection. They will keep us safe.
The Bible puts the world and all it offers into perspective and shows up its futility and emptiness. What it offers its not real, not lasting. It is like stage scenery.
We then looked at Psalm 119.9: " How can a young man keep his path clean? By keeping on guard according to your word."
And, with that verse in mind, he discussed the example of a young brother called Alexander. He was brought up in the truth (Christianity being called "the way of the truth"), but when he became 19 he began to think much more seriously about it. He began to read and study the Bible regularly, cutting down on other things to do so. He started every day with Bible reading. And he began to understand its value, to realise that Jehovah, our Creator really wants us to come to know Him
The Speaker asked us how the world views marriage. Doesn't it undermine marriage and the relationship between husband and wife at every turn? Think of the pre-nup - the plan for the divorce set in place before the marriage!
How different Jehovah's view of marriage is. We read Ephesians 5:28,33: "In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself." "Nevertheless, each one of you must love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband."
If both partners apply these principles, they will have a happy marriage. There will still be problems of course - we are imperfect people, living in a very stressful world. So, when problems occur, how should we handle them?
The world will say: leave the marriage, flee from it. But Jehovah's word tells us how to restore a peaceful relationship. We looked at James 3:17,18: "But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peaceful conditions for those who are making peace."
If we apply the above, we seek peace, we can restore the peaceful relationship.
The Speaker then read, in contrast, James 3:14-16: "But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above; it is earthly, animalistic, demonic. For wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing."
The Speaker then gave the example of Marilyn, a sister whose marriage became very troubled; but as she came to realise that there were faults and failings on both sides, she applied the principles above, and so her husband began to apply them too, and the relationship was healed.
He reminded us that we live in very challenging times and we need to cling to Jehovah's advice more strongly all the time.
The world will advise us to get and keep a high standard of living - whatever the cost to family life. The speaker here read a Scripture that I didn't get noted down. Some leave their families behind to go and work in another country where they can earn a much higher wage and give their family a better life materially. Some may stay away for years - only able to see their family once a year - maybe not even that.
There are great dangers in doing this. How can you provide emotionally and spiritually for your family when you are not with them?
There are great moral dangers too - with husband and wife being separated for years. (I have seen a lot of this first hand, having been an expat myself for many years, with my husband. But many husbands were there without their wives, and wives without their husbands. Some were not able to leave, as the employer held their passport. There are many many dangers - so I know what wise advice this is.)
Husband and wife need to be together. And the children need to be with the parents.
If we listen to Jehovah and obey him, he will provide what we need. We then read Proverbs 28:6: "Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than a rich man whose ways are corrupt."
We all want and need perfect health. But not at any cost. We should take great care of this precious gift of life, but not at the cost of our service to Jehovah.
We then read Proverbs 14:15: "The naive person believes every word, But the shrewd one ponders each step."
Some alternative healing methods involve the occult. We must be careful and must let Jehovah's word guide all our health decisions.
Studying, being at our meetings, witnessing will help us in every way. Jehovah understands if we can't do as much as we would like. He only ever asks of us what we can do. We talked about the Widow's mite. That tiny amount of money she put in the Treasury Chest was all she had, and was very precious to Jehovah.
COPING WITH THE STRESS OF LONELINESS
The Speaker read 2 Corinthians 4:18: " while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting."
Many are single within the truth, for various reasons, but never forget that we have 8 million siblings! We belong to a warm, loving, worldwide family.
In conclusion, whatever challenges we face, if we always trust in the wisdom of Jehovah - the wisdom in his Inspired Word, the Bible - we will come through safely.
Our last Scripture was James 1:5, a lovely reassuring verse: "So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him."
STUDY, PRAY AND ASK JEHOVAH FOR WISDOMTASTE AND SEE THAT JEHOVAH IS GOOD FOR ALL ETERNITY
I drove to Arundel on Saturday morning - with much fear and trembling and a lot of prayers to Jehovah. One of my young brothers came with me to navigate, as I didn't know the particular territory we were going to. I prayed extra for him, my precious cargo - a young brother and father - that I would drive safely and well.
And I have to say it went so smoothly. The roundabouts emptied as we got there and we sailed round in stately fashion. Lloyd said what a lovely easy run we were having, and I admitted I had been praying a lot about it. We got there first I think! And I worked with the Circuit Overseer's wife, so I learnt a lot. As I have from the whole visit. Its applying it now, of course.
And we went to Jackie's for supper - chicken kiev, with veggies and ratatouille - followed by carrot cake. A lovely funny evening as always, with great food (as always).