Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Circuit Overseer's First Talk

Not good news about my shoulder.  Jane the Physio took us through the x-rays yesterday morning - and the problem is a mechanical one - not, as far as I can see, to be solved by all the physio in the world. One bit of the replacement is pressed too close against something else.  Only a second operation could correct it. And I am not prepared to have another operation, not when I have a choice in the matter. I dread the day my hips go.

So I am feeling very gloomy wondering if I now have to somehow learn to live with this painful shoulder and lack of sleep....   impossible to find a comfy sleep position.   So, to do something positive, I thought I would try and jot down a few thoughts from the C.O.'s first talk which was on Tuesday night to see if I can retain at least something.   This is re-created from the notes I took which, because of my arthritic hands, are not comprehensive.  Well, I say "notes", it is also possible that a spider fell into a vat of wine, then into a vat of ink, and staggered drunkenly about on my notebook. Which is to say that they are hard to read. I can only hope I have done justice to a wonderful and comforting talk.

The title of the talk was:


Overall it was very kind and loving.  The Speaker asked us to think back to the days when we first learnt the truth, and the changes we had to make to become baptised Christians.  They were likely some very big changes.   But he reminded us that we still need to go on making changes, struggling to put on the new Christian personality.

And to remind us of how Jehovah can and will help us, he talked about the Mimic Octopus.  It has a wonderful ability to  mimic many different creatures - for example when in dangerous territory it can make itself look like a lion fish - and you don't mess with them!     If Jehovah can give such transforming ability to an octopus think what he can do for us, if we ask.  Because unlike the octopus, which works on God-given instinct, we are free to choose whether we will let Jehovah transform us, or not.

We then read Hebrews 4:12:   "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints from the marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart."

The soul is the person - the outer person - what we appear to be. The spirit is what we truly are on the inside.

We are asked to think about the word "intentions",  The mind and heart are linked, even if what is in our mind is not always carried out.

We then read Matthew 5:27,28:
“You heard that it was said: ‘You must not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.""

We must ask ourselves what is our heart drawn to. When we start out in the truth we may have wanted to continue doing things we knew Jehovah disapproved,  but we didn't, as we wanted to please him.  But the Speaker reminded us that that is only the first step  We need to reach the stage where we feel as Jehovah does about such things - feel repelled by them, and no longer even want to go near them.

Jehovah wants us to be transformed because he loves us.

As Romans 12:2 says:   "Stop being molded by this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over, so that you may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

The Speaker then used an illustration that would have appealed to Captain Butterfly - that of the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly. Everything has to change in the cocoon - from the teeth of the caterpillar to the proboscis of the butterfly, for example.  (I often cite this in discussions about Creation/Evolution as a miracle in plain  sight, as what else is it?  How could such a process "evolve"?)   However, the point the Speaker was making here was that because of our inherited imperfection this is a struggle, just as the butterfly has to struggle out of the cocoon.

But it is the struggle that strengthens the butterfly, and it is the struggle to put on the new personality that will strengthen us.  And Jehovah will help us every step of the way.  

The Speaker also pointed out that just as the caterpillar has to gorge itself on leaves with its caterpillar teeth, so we need to feed ourselves on God'sword.

Ephesians 4:22-24:  "You were taught to put away the old personality that conforms to your former course of conduct and that is being corrupted according to its deceptive desires.  And you should continue to be made new in your dominant mental attitude,  and should put on the new personality that was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty."

He then discussed the expression "dominant mental attitude".  We can now understand how the brain is continually making and strengthening connections - the Speaker discussed the nerves and the synapses. So we are constantly re-writing our brain through what we put into it - which brings us back to Hebrews 4:12, quoted above.

He then ended the talk by discussing two Scriptures.

The first was Matthew 6:21,22:  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  The lamp of the body is the eye. If, then, your eye is focused, your whole body will be bright."

We need to be active in the truth and all that it involves - to keep focussed on the Kingdom.

The second was 1 Thessalonians 5:14:  "On the other hand, we urge you, brothers, to warn the disorderly, speak consolingly to those who are depressed, support the weak, be patient toward all."

Support the weak - stick with them, stay with  them. And he gave the example of an inactive Witness who was out of the truth for twenty years. But, lovingly, the congregation kept in touch down the years, and finally the inactive one returned to Jehovah.

And the Speaker ended with this very comforting thought,

Matthew 19:26;   "Looking at them intently, Jesus said to them: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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