C.O.TALK ON TUESDAY EVENING
(This is reconstructed from the notes I took, for Maggie.)
NEVER LET YOURSELF BECOME TERRIFIED
Brother Rose told us he was moving onto the Hull Circuit, so I am hoping he might call on Penny and co. And that they will listen! He then started the talk by saying how fear can paralyse us so that we can't move, or it can cause us to panic and make the wrong move. So we need to cultivate qualities such as peace, confidence and courage, which are the opposite of fear.
Our first Scripture was Isaiah 42:13: "Jehovah will go out like a mighty man. He will awaken his zeal like a warrior. He will shout, yes, he will let out a war cry; He will show himself mightier than his enemies."
We need to have confidence in Jehovah.
The Speaker asked us to look at the example of Jesus. Think of his courage in tackling the moneylenders at the Temple - twice! He risked his life doing that. But he had zeal for Jehovah and for pure worship.
The Inspired Scriptures condemn cowardice. Hebrews 10:39 says: "Now we are not the sort who shrink back to destruction, but the sort who have faith for the preserving of our lives."
The Speaker reminded us that Satan wants us to be afraid, and referred us to 1 Peter 5:8, which warns: " Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone."
Brother Rose then told us an interesting thing about the lion's roar. He said that to the animals in the wild, the roar serves as a useful warning, but to domestic animals in a pen, it is a terror. And, if it causes them to panic, and break out of their pen, then the lion will get them.
Satan wants to terrorise us into leaving Jehovah's sheepfold. And the Speaker reminded us of the powerful article in the May 15th Watchtower: "Be Watchful, Satan Wants to Devour You" - one that we will be studying later in the year.
We then read Isaiah 30:21, which says: "And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way. Walk in it,” in case you should go to the right or in case you should go to the left."
God's word of truth can drown out the lion's roar and keep us safe, if we pay attention.
We thought of David's courage, facing the 9'6"Goliath, armed only with a sling and some stones. If we read the account, we will see that his courage came from his complete faith in and reliance on Jehovah.
The Speaker then made an interesting point about how our own imagination can help us - or hinder us!
He pointed out that if we have a fertile imagination - the sort that makes us lie awake and worry about everything that might go wrong - we will have panicked ourselves. (He might have noticed I was looking rather guilty at this point, as this sums me up rather too well.)
Also, we must take care not to become weighed down by the anxieties of life - worries about our health, worries about how to make a living, all sorts of things.
We looked at Proverbs 4:25: "Your eyes should look straight ahead, Yes, fix your gaze straight ahead of you."
We should trust in Jehovah, and use our imagination wisely. It can give us confidence if we keep our eyes fixed on the new system. And, yes, if I think about the Paradise earth, it puts things in their proper place.
The Speaker then discussed 4 qualities that we need, and their link with courage.
Firstly FAITH. This is the foundation of courage and it needs to be strong and firm. He gave us the example of the importance of literal foundations, when he told us of a building in Canada that sank one floor into the ground once people moved into it. Its foundations were not strong enough to support both people and building!
He then cited Isaiah 28:16: " Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a tested stone, The precious cornerstone of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will panic."
Faith linked to courage prevents panic. We need to have faith that Jehovah can make us equal to any situation, to any challenge, because Satan is "roaring" hard at the moment, trying to panic all of us into going the way of the world that is under his control.
Faith is described as a large shield in the Inspired Scriptures. And the greater our faith in Jehovah is, the more protection we will have.
Secondly HOPE. We read Psalm 27:14: "Hope in Jehovah; Be courageous and strong of heart. Yes, hope in Jehovah."
Our hope will light up our path through the darkness. If we walk in the dark, we will trip up. But hope can put all our troubles and problems into perspective. We know they are only temporary, whatever they are. They will come to an end. And the hope of the resurrection can keep us strong in the face of death. It can switch off the lion's roar.
Third PEACE. John 14:27: " I leave you peace; I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor let them shrink out of fear."
Psalm 55:22: "Throw your burden on Jehovah, And he will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to fall."
Do we throw our burden on Jehovah? Or do we keep taking it back?
The Speaker talked about a young sister who used the illustration of being cold. When she is cold she puts on a sweater; if she is still cold, she puts on another one, and so on, until she is warm. So, when she feels afraid, she prays to Jehovah for courage, and keeps praying until she is no longer afraid.
Then the Speaker reminded us of a wonderful experience from Rwanda, during the genocide there. Soldiers burst into the house of a Witness family, and told them they were all to be killed. The father asked if they would be allowed to pray first. Permission was given, and so they all prayed, silently, except for the youngest daughter. She prayed aloud, and she asked Jehovah how she was going to get back to all the people that she and her father had placed Christian literature with at the weekend, and how could she be baptised as a Jehovah's Witness if she was killed. When she finished praying, the soldier in charge said that they could not kill the family "because of the prayer of this young child".
Fourthly LOVE. John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life."
These are the two greatest acts of courage motivated by love; the love Jehovah has for us in giving his only-begotten Son, and the love Jesus has for his Father, and also his love for us, in being prepared to come to the earth and die.
The Speaker reminded us of this passage from Proverbs 8:30,31
"Then I was beside him as a master worker. I was the one he was especially fond of day by day; I rejoiced before him all the time; I rejoiced over his habitable earth, And I was especially fond of the sons of men."
Then we read 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts fear out, because fear restrains us. Indeed, the one who is fearful has not been made perfect in love."
When we first learnt the truth, it moved us to be courageous - to make changes, to tell others.
And the Speaker ended on this very encouraging thought, that we are in the last day of the last days - the new system is so close now. And he concluded with these verses:
2 Chronicles 20:15 & 17: "He said: “Pay attention, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Je·hoshʹa·phat! Here is what Jehovah says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or be terrified because of this large crowd, for the battle is not yours but God’s."
"You will not need to fight this battle. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.”
We - the Captain, Linda and me - went to Jackie's for supper on Saturday night - lasagne, apple pie and cream (yoghurt for me). A lovely evening. And Jean and I encouraged each other out on Saturday morning and made it to the group at the Kingdom Hall, which was well attended. We did some route calls and return visits, found a lot of people in, ahd some good talks, and were invited in by one kind lady.