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Posts tagged ‘Christian congregation’

Philippians 4:4–7 – Do Not Be Anxious

Last year the Christadelphians and several Bible Students in Belgium had a lot of worries and tried to get more and better contact with different believers in the Low Countries. They wanted the different communities sharing ideas and working more together.

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From all up the North (Riga) there was real sabotage which ignited also opposition from the United Kingdom and Australian bases, making the Belgian Christadelphians even more isolated.

We only now came acroos this interesting writing by Phillip J. Long which also looks at the writing of the apostle Paul which we also took as our guide in this difficult time of making church.

Often we as simple humans forget the role of the guiding or directing hand of the Most High in His time period. We so often want to hurry up things, not taking into account that it is perhaps not according to God His Plan or time scheme.

Often we worry too much about worldly matters, getting enough people at the meeting, being able to pay the bills, getting the publications ready in time, etc. instead of letting it come like it comes…

The difficulties we encounter today or nothing compared to the difficulties of the first followers of Christ. In our civilised industrialist democratic countries we are not imprisoned for our beliefs and do not have to worry to be executed for our faith, yet we are so often afraid about what others might think and how others react. We should learn more from the examples of the apostles, like Paul who rejoiced in his circumstances, modelling the kind of attitude not only he desires from the congregation, but which Christ would like to see as the ignition key for a trusting Christian congregation.

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You may read also:

  1. A rebellious movement founded on a fake?
  2. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  3. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude
  4. Problems attracting and maintaining worshippers
  5. Others that hinder the message
  6. Vision blurred by cumulative burden of divisions
  7. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  8. Let us not forget it was God who chose us
  9. Faith because of the questions
  10. Fear of failure, and fear of the unknown
  11. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  12. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  13. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  14. Being Christian, following Jesus Christ
  15. Parts of the body of Christ
  16. What part of the Body am I?
  17. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  18. Being Missional
  19. Flowing out from a genuine spiritual “heart”
  20. Our openness to being approachable
  21. Words in the world
  22. Looking from different perspectives
  23. Belonging to or being judged by
  24. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  25. Anti-church movements and Humanism
  26. Quibbling siblings united or allied children of an organisation or a church
  27. No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
  28. Delay in publications because attack from outside
  29. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  30. Our openness to being approachable
  31. Let us not fret or worry about next season
  32. Fearing the right person
  33. God’s Time is Best
  34. Together tasting a great promise
  35. Change of name
  36. New Name a fact
  37. To whom do we want to be enslaved
  38. Are you being swept along by the world
  39. Encouraging one another
  40. A participation in the body of Christ
  41. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear…
  42. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  43. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but…
  44. Gods hope and our hope
  45. Fixing our attention

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  • Moving Through Time: Timeline of Religion (pcr.wpengine.com)
    Since the beginning of time, mankind has formed beliefs of the unexplainable and unknowable. Over thousands of years, these beliefs became traditional, customary, and institutionalized within regional societies. People continue to express an interest in spiritual matters from all corners around the world. Everybody has pondered the meaning of life, what happens after we die, what existed before us, and whether any other life exists in the universe. Mankind may never know concrete answers regarding the spiritual. In fact, humans may destroy the planet before we can discover the remaining life in unexplored regions. Nevertheless, we continue to seek spiritual enlightenment and a connection with our Creator.
  • Without the Spirit one is not lead and guided into all truth (reformedontheweb.wordpress.com)
    Since the imagination of man, like all the other faculties of his moral being, is permeated and vitiated by sin, the ideas it suggests, even when pondering the Divine oracles, are prone to be mistaken and corrupt. It is part of our sinful infirmity that we are unable of ourselves to interpret God’s Word aright; but it is part of the gracious office of the Holy Spirit to guide believers into the truth, thereby enabling them to apprehend the Scriptures. This is a distinct and special operation of the Spirit on the minds of God’s people, whereby He communicates spiritual wisdom and light unto them, and which is necessary unto their discerning aright the mind of God in His Word, and also their laying hold of the heavenly things found therein.
  • About us / Over ons/Belgian Church (muchadoaboutbiblicaltruths.wordpress.com)
    In the first century church, the ecclesia took place in people’s homes. It talks about the apostles and disciples going from house to house teaching and preaching the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ (christadelphians.wordpress.com)
    As followers of Christ we should have taken on new clothes and though we may have the same old physical brain, we should have been transformed in a new being. Every day again we should be working on our new construction and should we learn to think an entirely new way.
  • 5 Reasons to Join a Small Group – An Introduction (mycrosspointechurch.wordpress.com)
    In a matter of weeks, God had brought exponential growth the church.  What so astounding is that, even with that many people, there were no needs among the people (which was the reality by the end of Acts 2).

    How was it that the church met those needs?  How was it that there was such a unity in their midst.  The answer is tucked away for us, I believe, at the end of Acts 5.  Acts 5:42 reads, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.”

  • Prayer for the Whole Church and Those in Authority (prayerfromtheheart.net)
    Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all ministers and all your humble servants, that they may all, by their lives and doctrine set forth Your true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer Your holy Sacraments.
  • VATICAN – Pope: Conform to Christ and not this world, and follow His path (asianews.it)
    At the Sunday Angelus Pope Francis warns against becoming “worldly” and “tasteless salt”. “Watered down Christians” are like watered down wine, “you do not know whether it is wine or water”. Read the Gospel every day. Gospel, Eucharist, prayer help us to safeguard the newness of Jesus.
  • When The Sin Of Contention Comes (Bible tools commentary by John W. Ritenbaugh) (prophecynewsandviews.wordpress.com)
    A quarrel that could be easily settled if both parties were humble continues indefinitely when parties are arrogant. Why? Because pride plows the way for contempt for the others opinion. Pride inflames passion and wounds feelings. Because of competitiveness, also an aspect of pride, a person feels he has to fight back. And so the argument goes back and forth.
  • Let us not fret or worry about next season (belgianbiblestudents.wordpress.com)
    Last season we like the Belgian Christadelphians perhaps had set our hopes to much on human beings, hoping they would not be as partial to prohibit brothers and sisters in Christ to join hands and have meetings together.

    In the midst of our many activities our minds should have been on the eternal and the magical ways of the universe, trusting God He would be the One Who brings the Chosen ones unto Him.

Reading Acts

While the following commands from Paul seem unrelated to the theme of unity, Frank Thielman argues they ought to be read in the context of persecution (Philippians, NIVAC, 217-9). While this is not an Empire-wide systematic persecution of believers, we have already seen several times in the letter than the church at Philippi was a small community of believers who are in many ways “different” from the Roman culture around them. The existence of a group of people who “have the mind of Christ” is enough to be suspicious, and suspicion easily gives way to gossip, wild accusations and pressure to conform. This sort of social pressure can be difficult to accept and a source of great fear for the church. Paul’s series of short exhortations in these verses are therefore designed to give comfort and encouragement to endure.

Alfred E. NewmanFirst, Paul encourages the church to set aside worry…

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Our openness to being approachable

In the 2013-2014 season we gave attention on the way we can give praise to the Most High Jehovah and ‘Sing for His Name’.

English: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter ...

According Catholic Faith: Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the academic year 2013-2014 much discussion went on about a revision of the educational program in the Belgian schools and about a renewal of the attitude of the Catholic Church which kept loosing more and more people. They decided to make one parish from 5 parishes so that the costs could be tempered and priests would be available to do a service every few weeks, for at least one per month in a village.

The Bible Students did not have it easy either to attract people to their services. Most people are also afraid of non-trinitarians and do not like to put away their traditions, like baby baptism, first and second communion, and other Catholic celebrations. More and more people Focus on outward appearances and are not any more interested in a Supreme Higher Being, which they can not see or do feel to have connection with.

More and more people also give a voice accusing God to be a cruel partial being, Whom let others suffer a lot and let so many things happen without interfering. Several people also became angry with those people who call themselves People of God and wanted to see a Jewish nation living in Israel the Land given by God to His Chosen People.

This last season, we looked at the apostle Peter who perceived that God is not partial, (Acts 10:34) being aware that the Greek word rendered “partial” literally means “taker of faces.” (The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures) Regarding this term, one scholar explains:

“It refers to a judge who looks at a man’s face and renders a verdict, not in accord with the merits of the case, but according as he likes or dislikes the man.”

As Christians we may be happy God gave His son to liberate us all and to give the goyim (people, nation) or heathen also a chance to become part of His people, not favouring one face over another because of race, nationality, social standing, or any other external factors.

Knowing that in every nation the man that fears Jehovah God and works righteousness is acceptable to Him, we tried to work at ourself and help others to find the right direction, growing in truthfulness and righteousness.

At the services we talked about what it means to fear God. We tried to see how we have and can respect, honour, and trust Him, avoiding anything that displeases him. To work righteousness involves willingly doing what is right in God’s eyes. Jehovah finds pleasure in the man whose heart is filled with reverential awe that moves him to do what is right.(Deuteronomy 10:12, 13.)

The Christadelphians in Belgium did not face an easy year. The Belgian Christadelphians from the ecclesia Brussel-Leuven tried to get all the different groups of Christadelphians together. Their intentions where very good, but did not take account of the human selfishness, pride, likes of power, and stubborn attitude. We do have to admit that also certain Bible Students did not like a liaison either, with certain other groups. A shame it did not work out positively and left division in the ranks.

We spend lots of time in arguing and discussing the matter of unity. Shamefully we encountered hesitation and opposition. We also experienced discrimination or prejudice which made good reason for us to take heart from Peter’s words about God. Jehovah is drawing people of all nations to true worship. (John 6:44; Acts 17:26, 27) He listens and responds to the prayers of his worshippers regardless of their race, nationality, or social standing. (1 Kings 8:41-43) We can be confident that when Jehovah looks down from heaven, he sees just one race—the human race.

Facing the problems of the Brothers and Sisters in Belgium we also reminded ourselves that Jesus foretold that the Christian congregation would come under attack. Remember, in his prophetic illustration of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus warned that a newly planted field of wheat (anointed Christians) would be oversown with weeds (imitation Christians). The groups, he said, would be allowed to grow side by side—undisturbed until the harvest, which would come at “a conclusion of a system of things.” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) It was not long before Jesus’ words began to come true.

The apostasy made some inroads in the first century, but Jesus’ faithful apostles acted “as a restraint,” holding back the contamination and influence of false teachings. (2 Thessalonicans 2:3, 6, 7) However, once the last of the apostles died, the apostasy took root and flourished during a long growing season that lasted for many centuries. Additionally, during that time, the weeds became many and the blades of wheat were few. There was no consistent, organized channel for dispensing spiritual food.

As the end of the growing season neared, there were strong stirrings of interest in Bible truth. Recall that in the 1870’s, a small group of sincere truth-seekers got together and formed Bible classes apart from the weeds—imitation Christians within the churches and sects of Christendom. With humble hearts and open minds, those sincere Bible Students, as they called themselves, made a careful and prayerful search of the Scriptures.—Matthew 11:25.

Those Bible Students’ diligent study of the Scriptures yielded rich results and they also found their way to Europe where they originally came from. In the States as in Europe different Bible Students groups found new light and got several little independent groups spreading locally the Biblical Truth. Belgium, as a very strong Roman Catholic bastion was a difficult place to convince people of what was really written in the Bible.

Tetragrammaton (God's name, see Jehovah) at th...

Tetragrammaton (God’s name, see Jehovah) at the Roman Catholic Church Saint-Germain-des-Prés, at Paris, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Jehovah Witnesses found more interest by the believers the Roman Catholic Church started taking away the Name of God from their publications. They also had used the name Jehovah until the mid 1960ies, but then they wanted to avoid any  resemblance with the group of Bible Students which used God’s Name but did not want to accept Jesus as the god.

There where some trials to bring different Bible Students joining forces, but last season Marcus Ampe did a last effort to bring the non-Jehovah Witnesses Bible Students and Bible researchers together. He had hoped to bring the different Christadelphian Groups, Old Paths, Central Fellowship, Amended and Unamended Christadelphians, Dawn Students, Australian and Belgian Bible Students, together with Logos and Carelinks members. To no avail. He got a ‘big slap in his face’, finding his efforts not being appreciated, and being more shunned than before. He with the Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven and with the Belgian Bible Students became more isolated because they wanted to be impartial and open to any serious Bible Student, no matter which background or organisation.
They lost their support from the English organisation and made it now clear to the public they wanted to be an independent Christian organisation, free from human directorate, giving themselves to the ruling of Christ Jesus as their only cornerstone.

They like we, want to be united under Jesus Christ, facing total impartiality in the ranks, with the impartial God as our Most High example.

We, after our bad experience this season, therefore dare to ask every person coming to us or reading these pages:

Are you moved to learn more about this impartial God?

Are you willing to become part of the People of God?

Are you willing to understand what it means to be part of the Body of Christ, understanding that there are and may be different parts or groups, like you have the kidneys, reins, stomach, veins, lungs, etc, in a human body?

Tbilisi St. Peter-Paul Catholic Church

the Love of Christ, by his good heart – Tbilisi St. Peter-Paul Catholic Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having noticed how difficult it even is in the own ranks or denomination to find the love of Christ fully, and getting to see how it is not always to get the right quality of approachability, we wondered how we could help it to bring people together.

How would you describe an individual who is approachable? You might say,

‘Someone who is kind, readily available, and easy to talk to.’

You can often discern whether a person is approachable or not by listening to what he says and by observing his body language—gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal signs.

Confronted with all those communication problems we looked at Jehovah how He demonstrates that He is approachable. Although He is the Almighty Creator of our vast universe, Jehovah assures us that He is willing and eager to listen to our prayers and to respond to them. (Read Psalm 145:18; Isaiah 30:18, 19.) The Belgian Christadelphians also presented a series about the way we can speak to God at length at any time or place. They looked at ‘prayer‘, how we can bring prayers which are worthy in the eyes of God.

Ελληνικά:

Ελληνικά: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We where happy this year in the knowledge that we always can approach the Divine Creator Jehovah God freely, knowing that He will never reproach us for doing so. (Psalm 65:2; James. 1:5) God’s Word describes Jehovah in human terms to indicate that he wants to be approached. For instance, the psalmist David wrote that “the eyes of Jehovah are toward” us and that his “right hand keeps fast hold” on us. (Psalm 34:15; 63:8) The prophet Isaiah likened Jehovah to a shepherd, saying:

“With his arm he will collect together the lambs; and in his bosom he will carry them.” (Isaiah 40:11)

We, though we had to face a very difficult time in Belgium, the last few months, still could find happiness in the knowledge that we fully could trust God Who wants us to be as close to Him as a little lamb nestled in the bosom of a caring shepherd.

We where convinced, and still are, that a key to being approachable is showing genuine interest in others. If an elder cares about others and is willing to give of himself in their behalf, his brothers and sisters, including young ones, will likely sense this attitude. (Mark 10:13-16) Of course, it is not enough for an elder to say that he is approachable; he should manifest that quality. (1 John 3:18)

Customs may vary from land to land, but usually when we give our brothers and sisters a warm smile, a welcoming handshake, a relaxed greeting, we are signaling that we are genuinely interested in them. Who should take the initiative in this? Note the example Jesus set. Matthew reports that at a meeting with his disciples, “Jesus approached and spoke to them.” (Matthew 28:18) Likewise, elders today take the initiative to approach their fellow believers and speak to them. How can that affect the congregation? An 88-year-old pioneer sister observed:

“The warm smiles and encouraging comments I receive from the elders when I enter the Kingdom Hall endear them to me.”

Another faithful sister added:

“It may be viewed as a little thing, but when an elder welcomes me to the meeting with a smile, it means a lot to me.”

This coming year we would like to continue working at the openness we do have to have, making ourselves more approachable to others. Obviously, we cannot be approached if we are not available. Jehovah sets a fine example in that regard.

“He is not far off from each one of us.” (Acts 17:27)

One way in which elders make themselves available to others is by setting aside time before and after Christian meetings to converse with their brothers and sisters—young and old.
A pioneer brother noted:

“When an elder asks how I’m doing and then stops to listen to my answer, I feel appreciated.”

A sister who has been serving Jehovah for nearly 50 years commented:

“Elders who take some time to talk to me after the meeting make me feel valued.”

We would love to give more time to those who have questions and are willing to listen to them and to give answers to the many questions people may have.

This coming new season we do want to give extra attention to the sheep showing others we are open to any body, being fair, free from having or showing bias or favouritism.

One who is impartial will pay due regard, not to an individual’s outward appearance or circumstances, but to his or her character as a person. We would like to find people who have the right attitude to come closer to Jehovah, our God, the greatest example of impartiality. His Word states that he “is not partial” and that he “treats none with partiality.”

34 At this Peter began to speak, and he said: “Now I truly understand that God is not partial,+35 but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.+ (Acts 10:34, 35)

17 For Jehovah your God is the God of gods+ and the Lord of lords, the God great, mighty, and awe-inspiring, who treats none with partiality+ and does not accept a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17.)

As always are full attention next season shall go to the God of gods, Who executes justice for the fatherless child  and the widow and loves the foreign resident, giving him food and clothing. (Leviticus 19:10, Deuteronomy 24:14, Psalm 146:9) Once more we shall also give full attention to hired worker who is in need and poor and protecting the foreign residents, looking carefully what shall happen to the country Belgium in those political difficult times, where the politicians do not take into account the votes of the people, and created a new sort of monarchy of the political parties, where each party delivers politicians from father to son and keeps ruling the country and creating different posts for the own political family.

We do hope to convince people how no human political system shall ever be able to bring total peace. We shall keep trying to bring them the knowledge of what the purpose is of the Kingdom of God and why it is so important we look forward to the return of Christ Jesus, the Messiah.

We do admit we with the Belgian Christadelphians hoped we could bring much more people together, clinging to each other. We shamefully failed and have to admit we should put all our hope to God, and got perhaps too much fear in man.

20 “Jehovah your God you should fear, him you should serve,+ to him you should cling, and by his name you should swear. 21 He is the One you are to praise.+ He is your God, who has done all these great and awe-inspiring things for you that your own eyes have seen.+ (Deuteronomy 10: 20-21)

We shall continue to to invite all sorts of fellow believers, including those whose background differs from ours as well as those who are poor, orphaned, or widowed. (Read Galatians 2:10; James 1:27.) Further, in the Kingdom-preaching work, we shall keep sharing the good news impartially with people of all backgrounds, including those from foreign countries.

Preaching without impartility

We shall continue to take time to reflect on how approachable and impartial Jehovah is. In the knowledge that Jehovah is near to all those calling upon Him, we shall keep trying to bring others to know Him and to imitate Jehovah’s qualities to the full, demonstrating them in our dealings with fellow believers and with those to whom we preach.

Preceding article: An academic year ending, again a new year standing ready for us

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Additional reading:

  1. Words in the world
  2. Funeral service only belongs in church building according to Catholic Church
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life
  4. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  5. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  6. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  7. Focus on outward appearances
  8. People are turning their back on Christianity
  9. Christianity to be enshrined
  10. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  11. Walking alone?
  12. Stand Up
  13. Quit griping about your church
  14. Accents in schools and tools of survival against aliens
  15. Two states of existence before God
  16. God, my father, my closest friend
  17. God doesn’t call the qualified
  18. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  19. A Society pleading poverty
  20. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  21. Christadelphian people
  22. Not many coming out with their community name
  23. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  24. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  25. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation
  26. Attackers silenced freedom of speech
  27. A man from the North wanting to have control in Belgium
  28. No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks
  29. Delay in publications because attack from outside
  30. Members of the ecclesia uniting and seeking God’s help in tribulation
  31. Cleanliness and worrying or not about purity
  32. Springtime!
  33. Christian values and voting not just a game
  34. Human relations 2013
  35. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritually
  36. Preparing for an important election
  37. Standing aside or looking at election days
  38. 2014 European elections
  39. Yellow wave over Belgium
  40. Walloon politicians have proven they will never be willing to be open to Flanders
  41. A Jewish Theocracy
  42. Call for prayer to help with unity crisis
  43. Do You Expect God’s Answer
  44. Prayer, important aspect in our life
  45. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  46. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  47. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #2 Calling upon the Name of God
  48. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #1 Creator and His Prophets
  49. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  50. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  51. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity
  52. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  53. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  54. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  55. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  56. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #6 Prayer #4 Attitude
  57. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #7 Prayer #5 Listening Ear
  58. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #8 Prayer #6 Communication and manifestation
  59. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  60. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  61. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #11 Prayer #9 Making the Name Holy
  62. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #12 Prayer #10 Talk to A Friend
  63. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #13 Prayer #11 Name to be set apart
  64. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  65. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  66. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #16 Benefits of praying
  67. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  68. Praying and thinking positively
  69. “Prayer 2″ – Child Abuse
  70. Genuine prayer
  71. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  72. 7000 to 20000 words spoken each day
  73. If you think you’re too small to be effective
  74. Does God answer prayer?
  75. Being sure of their deliverance
  76. Work with joy and pray with love
  77. Give your worries to God
  78. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow

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  • Nearly 6,000 attend Jehovah’s Witness convention (wwlp.com)
    The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that members of Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations from across the Northeast came to Amherst this weekend. They participated in a three-day program that included sermons, songs and prayer.
  • My Family Was Catholic Until the Almighty Got a Hold of Us (sandradeden.com)
    Ever wonder how all the different religions came about? Well, wonder no more, because I have a highly sophisticated theory. I think entire families stand in a long line before they are born, and a deity hands out religion like an ice cream truck guy hands out SpongeBob SquarePants bars, strawberry shortcakes, and fudgsicles. How do I know this? It’s the only way to explain my family.
    +
    She liked the Jewish emphasis on family and being a good person (as opposed to say, burning in hell for transgressions). The final piece was the idea that children must be born to a Jewish mother be considered Jewish, so she converted. It was toughest on my mom. Julie’s religious departure was still based in Christianity, but for my mom, Sharon had left the fold entirely.
  • A Letter to Brother Bramwell Chandrakumar’s Questions (garylordsway.wordpress.com)
    Jesus has defined God for us in scripture: Jn.4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. If we then know God is a Spirit, because God cannot lie
  • Chapter 25-Christ in the Old Testament (reformedontheweb.wordpress.com)
    It is well to see that the true doctrine as to the Saviour of man is not that of the New Testament only, but of the whole Bible. The unity of divine revelation will thus appear. The testimony of prophecy will be added to that of the miracles which attended the life of Jesus and the ministry of his followers.
    +
    The prophecy of the second coming of Christ which Jude (vers. 14, 15) tells us was made by “Enoch, the seventh from Adam,” betokens a degree of knowledge to the very end of the world which, but for that record, would never have been imagined. We are therefore not to be hindered by any presumption that our first parents did not know what God was promising, from carefully scrutinizing the record left us, nor from giving to it all the fullness of meaning its literal interpretation may convey.
  • Psalm 9 (kittyjonesblog.wordpress.com)
    Since you provide my righteousness and appoint my cause, /I know that my enemies, /the world culture that surrounds me, /my own self-absorbed flesh / and the devil, /will stumble and perish before the righteous judgment / that comes from your throne.
  • What do you need…? (prayerconfessions.wordpress.com)
    The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.Encounter Him as:
    Elohim: the God above all gods

    Jehovah Jireh: the God who provides

    El-Shaddai: the almighty God

    Jehovah Rapha: our healer God

    Jehovah Shalom: our God of peace

  • Names of God (girlfriendscoffeehour.com)
    El Roi, the God Who Sees
    You are My Banner, Jehovah-Nissi
    The All Sufficient One, El Shaddai
    Jehovah-Jireh, You Will Provide
    Rapha, the Lord Who Heals
    Shalom, You are my Peace
    The Lord of Hosts, Jehovah-Sabaoth
  • Week 15: Friday – The Great I am (bolmdevotional.wordpress.com)
  • Jehovah “Is Not Partial” (byronfliwalker.wordpress.com)
    Have you ever been a victim of discrimination? Have you ever been denied a request, refused a service, or otherwise treated with disdain because of your skin color, ethnic background, or social status? If so, you are far from alone. Here, though, is the good news: Such indignities, though commonplace on earth, are nonexistent in heaven. “God is not partial,” said the Christian apostle Peter with the utmost conviction.—Read Acts 10:34, 35.

Belonging to or being judged by

What to be and where to belong

Many Christians may have lots of questions about why we are created so and so, what we do have to do, how we have to behave and form our selves.  Jehovah’s Witnesses also can become confronted with such questions which can bring them into many doubts. They also can become frustrated.

Jehovah's witnesses from door to door

Jehovah’s witnesses from door to door (Photo credit: ideacreamanuelaPps)

Strangely in our world today we may find people who are excluded by the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), but who are still feeling 100% pro-Jehovah’s Witnesses. This despite the fact that the organisation has removed them from the congregation, and despite the believer his or her belief that the organisation happens to be in error for doing so!

What we do find strange by many ex-Jehovah Witnesses is that they either go totally against the Faith in One God or that they go totally against the non-trinitarian idea and go to an other organisational church. Many of them keep thinking you need A Organisation, others came to come to see clear and do find it is not as such the church of men but the church of God they have to look for.

Witnesses for Jehovah

A few believe that there is no other religious organization on earth today that is so completely committed to doing the work Jesus asked of his followers, and following in his footsteps, worshipping the God of the Bible, in the way that he prescribes, doing their utmost to be continually teaching and living by the truth of his word, and not simply the often-vacillating moral and secular opinions of men. They stay blinded that there are no other serious Bible Students who try to do the task Jesus had ordered his followers to do. This mainly because they limit their idea about preaching to having to go on the streets and to knock at the door or ringing the bell.

We do agree that the Jehovah Witnesses organisation is a powerful organisation, very well structured, and because having enough money and interested people, able to bring the tasks together, organise editions and meetings, much better than many others. They have very beautiful good publications to help people willing to learn about the Word and Work of Jehovah God. Though sometimes they seem to forget that it is “God’s word is alive, and exerts power,” (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is God’s Hand which hovers over the world bringing all sorts of people active in the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses  and the excluded ones who still hope to be part of the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) overlook that there are also other witnesses for Jehovah active in the whole world. We consider ourselves some of them.

When all in union or being united

The congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses mistakenly consider them as the only people who are truly united by their religion “in the same mind and in the same line of thought” as Jesus Christ, not just locally, but everywhere around the globe. The JW rightly consider that if all people on earth were Jehovah’s Witnesses, there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. But we also could say in case all Christians would follow the teachings of the one they say they take as their master, than also there would be already less fighting and less problems in the world. In case all people would be real Christians, and not just name Christians, really following the commandments of God, than also there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. The same simply cannot be said of the myriad of other religions on earth today, because there are so many divisions and many having non-Scriptural teachings. Taryn Viv having been a JW, and still feeling like one, seems to know one of the problems of the people in the organisation. She writes:

To their credit, Jehovah’s Witnesses are sincerely diligent when it comes to applying Bible counsel to themselves, and to the congregation. Faithfully doing so has proven to have tremendously positive results, which only makes sense. If the Bible really is, as it claims, the word of our creator, his wisdom certainly must surpass ours, and as it is summed up at Isaiah 48:17, “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”

Fallible or infallible organisation

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure ...

Diagram Representing Organisational Structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to us some Witnesses give the impression their organisation is infallible and only brings the Words of God. They have given the Watchtower and tract Society (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania + Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York + Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses) with their so called ‘Faithful Slave’ the same position as many Christians do give the Pope of the Vatican. It is that Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses based in Brooklyn, New York which is the ruling council of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They may formulate the policy and doctrines everybody has to follow. Strangely enough the members of the Governing Body say they are followers of Christ rather than religious leaders, but take the position of dictatorial leaders, whose rules and ideas everybody has to follow.
When the Society’s second president, J.F. Rutherford, encountered opposition from directors in 1917, he dismissed them; in 1925 he overruled the Watch Tower Society’s editorial committee — selected by Charles Taze Russell to have editorial control of The Watch Tower after his death—when it opposed publication of an article that altered doctrines on Bible chronology related to 1914. In 1931, the editorial committee was dissolved and until January 1976, the president of the Governing Body exercised complete control of doctrines, publications and activity of the Watch Tower Society and the religious denominations with which it was connected — some of the Bible Students Movment and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The ones to tell what is right or wrong

Though not one man is infallible and knows everything. Even Jesus did not know when he would return to the earth. But the organisation claims that they can tell all people what is right and wrong, and that they are the only ones who can bring people to God. For sure they will help a lot of people to find the Only One God and to come to see the difference between the man made gods and the Only One God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. We should know that we as human beings have all our limitations and cannot expect perfection of one another in this system of things, nor can we expect it of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor those appointed to positions of responsibility, in spite of the tremendous good that Jehovah clearly is using the JW, Bible Students, Christadelphians and other non-trinitarian Christians who freely  and sincerely, contribute to the work of God.

Transgender – Being and feeling in a body

As a transgender woman for many, many years, the writer was quite frankly a bit shocked that, within weeks of her first surfacing the truth of her situation openly with a brother whom she considered a long-time friend, the congregation elders had decided this was a “judicial matter,” and scheduled a meeting to essentially determine whether she would be “repentant,” or would need to be removed from the congregation. Strangely enough you could wonder how it did happen they did not know earlier.
Such people with a gender problem, which we encounter much more today (also have a look at the articles on Stepping toes) are not only in trouble with their own situation, having to suffer from major depressive illness for some years and as a result having very little contact with their own family, do not have it always easy  to mix with others and to enjoy friendly contacts and group meetings in Christian groups.

Exclusion because of gender choice

Dr. Camille Cabral, a transgender activist at a demonstration for transgender people in Paris, October 1, 2005

Because Taryn Viv cannot, and will not dress and present herself as the “man” she had come to realize she never truly was in the first place, she has been removed from the congregation. This is somewhat shocking which we often have to hear about the JW, who exclude followers and have their family members and friends of the faith-group charged not to meet the excluded person any more.

When we do know that everybody is created in the likeness of God, and that we do bear the image of God, you may wonder if those who do not feel at ease in their body are really doing something against the Will of God ,when they let science help them to become the person they, in first instance feel to be?

For sure, those who would knowingly and wilfully practice such things that Jehovah condemns as seriously harmful, unloving and wrong, could not rightly still be considered a follower of Christ. Those who practice fornication, theft, murder, and do not regret what they have wrong, even when baptised, can not be any more be considered a person being part of the Body of Christ. We do agree that in many Christian denominations there are a lot of people who believe we do not have to work any more once we are ‘reborn’. They think once baptised that they would enter in heaven because they are saved by Christ. But Faith without works is death.

Looks, judging and counselling

In case people of the congregation see that there is something wrong they should bring this into discussion. Faithful brothers and sisters should be counselled then to avoid any association with such a person, even to the point of just sitting down to a meal with them, where others could see the association with that person. But we do not find it right that natural brothers and sisters and parents are not allowed to speak or associate with their brother or sister or child.

According to us they should be the first ones to bring the other to get to see what he or she did wrong, but than there have to have been something wrong. Therefore we as Christians should examine everything very careful and be attentive before we judge some one else. We also should be aware that by the ages many traditions came into our life as well as ideas how we should be or what would be accepted as normal or acceptable in our community.
For example the JW always like to go around in business suits and do not find it appropriate to wear casual clothing in service. Their way of dress is also not always conform the dress in the country they preach. As such, in West Europe everybody straight ahead recognises the JW because of their Americanised out of date dressing. But that has nothing to do with commandments of God, where no where in Scriptures is written that a dress for a girl has to have a length of so many centimetres beneath the knees or up to the ankles.

Exclusions of persons

Christians should be very careful with exclusions of persons from their community and should also try to do every effort to get the person back on the right track. They never may forget that the rules of exclusion are about someone who has not shown any repentance, remorse or regret for such serious wrongs, and that the purpose of such “disfellowshipping,” as Jehovah’s Witnesses call the practice is twofold.

  • First, it may move the person to reconsider the seriousness of what they have been doing and to turn around, thereby restoring a good relationship, first and foremost, with Jehovah God, but also with their spiritual family, who are urged to “kindly forgive and comfort” them. (2 Corinthians 2:7)

  • A second key reason is that, in the event they should remain unrepentant, “a little leaven ferments the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6)

Wisdom of scriptural admonition evident

The writer of the article A Matter of Judgement recognises that the wisdom of the scriptural admonition is evident, and can be clearly seen by counterexample. No doubt we’ve all heard of some widely publicized cases of unthinkably horrid offences committed by members of various religions. (Child molestation, for example, comes to mind. Murder is another, such as the bombings of abortion clinics, for example.) When those engaging in such acts, even repeatedly, can yet remain affiliated with others of their “faith,” as though even such gross wrongs are tolerable, or beyond judgement, what does it say to the world at large about that faith?

“Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)

More believers should hear the call of those who came onto this world in an other body than there mind tells them.

For now, though, I’ll conclude by saying I am grateful to be attending meetings regularly at the Kingdom hall again, and despite being considered “disfellowshipped” I find them spiritually strengthening and encouraging.
These days I am glad to say I can be more sociable again, and although it saddens me that I cannot now freely associate with many of my friends, brothers and sisters in the congregation, I find I am being given precious opportunities to speak about the good news of God’s Word with others I come into contact with.

Far from letting my circumstances cause me to be negative, many an acquaintance has told me they have come away after a conversation with a better view of both the Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses than they had before.

It pleases me know that I can still plant seeds of truth. I would encourage anyone in my sort of situation to do the same. Jehovah is a rewarder of those loyal to him, and so although the appointed elders may still expect to see me doing things that I cannot do, I know that Jehovah is pleased to see me doing what I can.

We only can hope that those who found their way to Jehovah the Only One God, by the help of the marvellous work of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, when they leave that organisation will continue in the Faith and in the Truth, loving God and all His creation, the good and the bad people also.

English: Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s W...

Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses Tucked away in Elmes Road, otherwise a residential back street of Moordown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Please do find:

  1. Taryn Viv a Wrongful Imprisonment ~ Faithful reflections of a transgender Jehovah’s Witness
  2. A Matter of Judgement
  3. Food for thought, that’s all.
  4. Failing to Answer the Most Vital Question About “Becoming Jehovah’s Friend”
  5. Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun Family Members for Selfish Reasons
  6. Focus on Jehovah’s Witnesses
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  8. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  9. Followers with deepening
  10. The business of this life
  11. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  12. Determine the drive
  13. Does the method of preaching from house to house have its basis in the Scriptures?
  14. Blogging for Jesus…
  15. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  16. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  17. Bringing Good News into the world
  18. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  19. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  20. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #3 Callers upon God
  21. A Voice to be heard
  22. Breathing to teach
  23. Church sent into the world
  24. Church enemy of faith
  25. Breaking up with a cult
  26. Dependence
  27. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  28. Casual Christians
  29. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  30. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  31. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  32. Testify of the things heard
  33. How should we preach?
  34. When discouraged facing opposition
  35. Reasons to come to gether
  36. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  37. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  38. Witnessing at LaGuardia Airport
  39. Bible for you and for life – TheBible4Life Committee explain what is planned for the national preaching effort next year.
  40. Good or bad preacher
  41. Holland Week of billing
  42. Trying to get the youth inspired
  43. Jew refering to be religious or to be a people
  44. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  45. Faith and works
  46. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  47. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  48. God loving people justified
  49. Creation and the Bible

+++

  • Jehovah’s Way: At the First Sign of Their Religious Doubt, Freeze Out Your Own Flesh and Blood (patheos.com)
    The elder Gonzalez is a Jehovah’s Witness. After his son expressed doubts about the movement, its Watchtower Governing Body promptly ordered the father to shun Rick and Lucas.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses Hateful practice of unbiblical shunning (christiansparlock.wordpress.com)

    “The result of ‘shunning’ is extreme anxiety, depression, self hatred, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, self injury and suicidal thoughts and attempts. This is not only painful but excruciating.” – Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

  • The Redemption (and Apostasy) of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (patheos.com)
    James Zimmerman grew up as the kind of Jehovah’s Witness who might have knocked on your door. Devout and fervent, he knew what the consequences were for apostates. And yet he found a way to break free.

    His new memoir detailing his upbringing — and how his questioning of the faith eventually led him away from it — is called Deliverance at Hand!: The Redemption of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness (Freethought House, 2013):

  • Jail for Jehovah’s Witness elder who molested girls (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
    A Jehovah’s Witness elder who was exposed as a paedophile on Facebook has been jailed.

    Jonathan Rose was branded a hypocrite as he was locked up for molesting two little girls he met through the church.
    +
    The family of Rose’s first accuser say they were encouraged to cover up their allegation. He was cleared of groping the then teenage girl in 1995 trial, but she would go on to be a witness in the latest court case. Her family say they were hounded out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they expressed concerns.

  • What Does The Bible Really Teach? – Chapter 18 Review (watchtowerinvestigated.co.uk)
    You are not baptised in the name of the father, son and holy spirit you are baptised into the organisation. In fact the last question they is “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”
    +
    Gods law are not burdensome, but let me list some things that the watchtower burden with when you are baptised:-• Fill out a report card every month detailing how much ministry you have done (or not as the case may be).
    • You Must go to all the meetings.
    • You Must go on the field service.
    • You Must not have a blood transfusion even if your life depended on it.
    • You Must not get involved in any holidays, Christmas, Birthday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day…the list goes on.
    • You Must cut off love ones if they reject the religion…
    • The list goes on…
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses call on Christians to safeguard their consciences (modernghana.com)
    Jehovah’s Witnesses at the weekend held a special assembly day programme with a call on Christians to safeguard their consciences to aid them walk with God and follow Jesus’ footsteps.

    The aim of the programme was to help the delegates to work towards acquiring a bible-trained and holy spirit-led conscience, which together with the bible, could serve as a reliable guide in deepening their relationship with God.

Election of the Apostle Matthias

Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were the two candidates suggested as possible replacements for Judas Iscariot as an apostle. The lot fell to Matthias. Even though Justus was not chosen, his being considered for the office shows he was a mature disciple of Jesus Christ.—Ac 1:23-26.

(Mat·thi′as) [probably a shortened form of the Heb. Mattithiah, meaning “Gift of Jehovah”].

Judas Hangs Himself

Judas Hangs Himself (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disciple selected by lot to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle. After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, Peter, noting that not only had the psalmist David foretold Judas’ deflection (Ps 41:9) but David had also written (Ps 109:8) “his office of oversight let someone else take,” proposed to the approximately 120 disciples gathered together that the vacancy of office be filled. Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias were put up for selection; after prayer, lots were cast, and Matthias was chosen. Occurring just a few days prior to the outpouring of holy spirit, this is the last instance reported in the Bible of the lots being resorted to in determining Jehovah’s choice in a matter.—Ac 1:15-26.

According to Peter’s words (Ac 1:21, 22), Matthias had been a follower of Christ throughout Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry, had been closely associated with the apostles, and was quite likely one of the 70 disciples or evangelists whom Jesus sent out to preach. (Lu 10:1) After his selection, he was “reckoned along with the eleven apostles” by the congregation (Ac 1:26), and when the book of Acts immediately thereafter speaks of “the apostles” or “the twelve,” Matthias was included.—Ac 2:37, 43; 4:33, 36; 5:12, 29; 6:2, 6; 8:1, 14; 9:27; see PAUL.

– it-2 pp. 354-355

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Though having strong conviction and proofs as to his own apostleship, Paul never included himself among “the twelve.” Prior to Pentecost, as a result of Peter’s Scriptural exhortation, the Christian assembly had sought a replacement for unfaithful Judas Iscariot. Two disciples were selected as candidates, perhaps by vote of the male members of the assembly (Peter having addressed himself to the “Men, brothers”; Ac 1:16). Then they prayed to Jehovah God (compare Ac 1:24 with 1Sa 16:7; Ac 15:7, 8) that He should designate which of the two he had chosen to replace the unfaithful apostle. Following their prayer, they cast lots and “the lot fell upon Matthias.”—Ac 1:15-26; compare Pr 16:33.

There is no reason to doubt that Matthias was God’s own choice. True, once converted, Paul became very prominent and his labors exceeded those of all the other apostles. (1Co 15:9, 10) Yet there is nothing to show that Paul was personally predestinated to an apostleship so that God, in effect, refrained from acting on the prayer of the Christian assembly, held open the place vacated by Judas until Paul’s conversion, and thus made the appointment of Matthias merely an arbitrary action of the Christian assembly. On the contrary, there is sound evidence that Matthias was a divinely appointed replacement.

English: Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Is...

Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot as apostle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Pentecost the outpouring of holy spirit gave the apostles unique powers; they are the only ones shown to have been able to lay hands on newly baptized ones and communicate to them miraculous gifts of the spirit. (See Apostle [Miraculous powers].) If Matthias were not in reality God’s choice, his inability to do this would have been apparent to all. The record shows this was not the case. Luke, the writer of Acts, was Paul’s traveling companion and associate during certain missions, and the book of Acts therefore undoubtedly reflects and coincides with Paul’s own view of matters. That book refers to “the twelve” as appointing the seven men who were to handle the matter of the food distribution problem. This was after Pentecost of 33 C.E. but before Paul’s conversion. Hence Matthias is here acknowledged as one of “the twelve,” and he shared with the other apostles in laying hands on the seven designates.—Ac 6:1-6.

Whose name then appears among those on the “twelve foundation stones” of the New Jerusalem of John’s vision—Matthias’ or Paul’s? (Re 21:2, 14) One line of reasoning would make it appear that Paul is the more likely one. He contributed so much to the Christian congregation by his ministry and particularly by his writing a large portion of the Christian Greek Scriptures (14 letters being attributed to him). In these respects Paul ‘outshone’ Matthias, who receives no further direct mention after Acts chapter 1.

– it-2 pp. 585-590

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Who replaced Judas Iscariot as a twelfth apostle?

Because of the defection of Judas Iscariot, who died unfaithful, there were only 11 apostles remaining, and during the 40 days from Jesus’ resurrection until his ascension to heaven he made no appointment of a replacement. Sometime during the ten days between Jesus’ ascension and the day of Pentecost it was viewed as necessary that another be selected to fill the vacancy left by Judas, not simply on the basis of his death but, rather, on the basis of his wicked defection, as the Scriptures quoted by Peter indicate. (Ac 1:15-22; Ps 69:25; 109:8; compare Re 3:11.) Thus, by contrast, when the faithful apostle James was put to death, there is no record of any concern to appoint anyone to succeed him in his position of apostle.—Ac 12:2.

It is evident from Peter’s statements that it was then considered that any individual filling the position of an apostle of Jesus Christ must have the qualifications of having been personally conversant with him, having been an eyewitness of his works, his miracles, and particularly his resurrection. In view of this it can be seen that any apostolic succession would in course of time become an impossibility, unless there were divine action to supply these requirements in each individual case. At that particular time before Pentecost, however, there were men meeting these requirements, and two were put forth as suitable for replacing unfaithful Judas. Doubtless having in mind Proverbs 16:33, lots were cast, and Matthias was selected and was thereafter “reckoned along with the eleven apostles.” (Ac 1:23-26) He is thus included among “the twelve” who settled the problem concerning the Greek-speaking disciples (Ac 6:1, 2), and evidently Paul includes him in referring to “the twelve” when speaking of Jesus’ postresurrection appearances at 1 Corinthians 15:4-8. Thus, when Pentecost arrived, there were 12 apostolic foundations on which the spiritual Israel then formed could rest.

The Boppard Room:  Pashal Candle Holder: Saint...

The Boppard Room: Pashal Candle Holder: Saint Matthias (Photo credit: peterjr1961)

Congregational Apostleships.

Matthias was not a mere apostle of the Jerusalem congregation, any more than the remaining 11 apostles were. His case is different from that of the Levite Joseph Barnabas who became an apostle of the congregation of Antioch, Syria. (Ac 13:1-4; 14:4, 14; 1Co 9:4-6) Other men also are referred to as “apostles of congregations” in the sense that they were sent forth by such congregations to represent them. (2Co 8:23) And, in writing to the Philippians, Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as “your envoy [a·po′sto·lon] and private servant for my need.” (Php 2:25) The apostleship of these men was clearly not by virtue of any apostolic succession, nor did they form part of “the twelve” as did Matthias.

The correct understanding of the wider application of the term “apostle” can help to clear away any apparent discrepancy between Acts 9:26, 27 and Galatians 1:17-19, when applied to the same occasion. The first account states that Paul, on arriving in Jerusalem, was led “to the apostles” by Barnabas. In the account in Galatians, however, Paul states that he visited with Peter and adds: “But I saw no one else of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.” James (not the original apostle James the son of Zebedee nor James the son of Alphaeus, but the half brother of Jesus) was evidently viewed as an “apostle” in the wider sense, namely, as “one sent forth” by the Jerusalem congregation. This would allow for the Acts account to use the title in the plural in saying that Paul was led “to the apostles” (that is, Peter and James).—Compare 1Co 15:5-7; Ga 2:9.

– it-1 pp. 127-130

The Election of Saint Matthias

The Election of Saint Matthias (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

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15 Now during these days Peter rose up in the midst of the brothers and said (the crowd* of persons was all together about one hundred and twenty): 16 “Men, brothers, it was necessary for the scripture to be fulfilled,+ which the holy spirit+ spoke beforehand by David’s mouth about Judas,+ who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus,+ 17 because he had been numbered among us+ and he obtained a share in this ministry.+ 18 (This very man, therefore, purchased+ a field with the wages for unrighteousness,+ and pitching head foremost*+ he noisily burst in his midst and all his intestines were poured out. 19 It also became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that that field was called in their language A·kel′da·ma, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his lodging place become desolate, and let there be no dweller in it,’+ and, ‘His office of oversight* let someone else take.’+ 21 It is therefore necessary that of the men that assembled with us during all the time in which the Lord Jesus went in and out* among us,+ 22 starting with his baptism by John+ and until the day he was received up from us,+ one of these men should become a witness with us of his resurrection.”+

23 So they put up two, Joseph called Bar′sab·bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Mat·thi′as. 24 And they prayed and said: “You, O Jehovah,* who know the hearts of all,+ designate which one of these two men you have chosen, 25 to take the place of this ministry and apostleship,+ from which Judas deviated to go to his own place.” 26 So they cast lots+ over them, and the lot fell upon Mat·thi′as; and he was reckoned along with the eleven+ apostles.

+

Proverbs 16:33

33 Into the lap the lot is cast down,+ but every decision by it is from Jehovah.+

Proverbs 18:18

18 The lot puts even contentions to rest,+ and it separates even the mighty from one another.+

+

Act 6:2:

2 So the twelve called the multitude of the disciples to them and said: “It is not pleasing for us to leave the word of God to distribute [food]* to tables.+ 3 So, brothers, search out+ for yourselves seven certified men from among YOU, full of spirit and wisdom,+ that we may appoint them over this necessary business; 4 but we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”+ 5 And the thing spoken was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith and holy spirit,+ and Philip+ and Proch′o·rus and Ni·ca′nor and Ti′mon and Par′me·nas and Nic·o·la′us, a proselyte of Antioch; 6 and they placed them before the apostles, and, after having prayed, these laid their hands+ upon them.

Acts 9:26, 27:

26 On arriving in Jerusalem+ he made efforts to join himself to the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe he was a disciple. 27 So Bar′na·bas came to his aid+ and led him to the apostles, and he told them in detail how on the road he had seen the Lord+ and that he had spoken to him,+ and how in Damascus+ he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.

***

*

 

v 23: Joseph, also called Barsabbas (perhaps a family name or merely an additional name) and surnamed Justus, was a witness of the work, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
A Levite surnamed Barnabas and a native of Cyprus. (Ac 4:36, 37) He was a close associate of the apostle Paul.—See Barnabas.

v 24: Jehovah: “Jehovah.” Heb., יהוה (YHWH or JHVH):

There is evidence that Jesus’ disciples used the Tetragrammaton in their writings. In his work De viris inlustribus [Concerning Illustrious Men], chapter III, Jerome, in the fourth century, wrote the following: “Matthew, who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a Gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed. Who translated it after that in Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Beroea to copy it.” (Translation from the Latin text edited by E. C. Richardson and published in the series “Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur,” Vol. 14, Leipzig, 1896, pp. 8, 9.)

Matthew made more than a hundred quotations from the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. Where these quotations included the divine name he would have been obliged faithfully to include the Tetragrammaton in his Hebrew Gospel account. When the Gospel of Matthew was translated into Greek, the Tetragrammaton was left untranslated within the Greek text according to the practice of that time.

Not only Matthew but all the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures quoted verses from the Hebrew text or from the Septuagint where the divine name appears. For example, in Peter’s speech in Ac 3:22 a quotation is made from De 18:15 where the Tetragrammaton appears in a papyrus fragment of the Septuagint dated to the first century B.C.E. (See App 1C §1.) As a follower of Christ, Peter used God’s name, Jehovah. When Peter’s speech was put on record the Tetragrammaton was here used according to the practice during the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.

Sometime during the second or third century C.E. the scribes removed the Tetragrammaton from both the Septuagint and the Christian Greek Scriptures and replaced it with Ky′ri·os, “Lord” or The·os′, “God.”

v 24: who know the hearts of all:

(1 Samuel 16:7): 7 But Jehovah said to Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance and at the height of his stature,+ for I have rejected him. For not the way man sees [is the way God sees],*+ because mere man sees what appears to the eyes;*+ but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart+ is.”*
(1 Chronicles 28:9): 9 “And you, Sol′o·mon my son, know+ the God of your father and serve+ him with a complete heart+ and with a delightful soul;+ for all hearts Jehovah is searching,+ and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning.+ If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you;+ but if you leave him,+ he will cast you off forever.+

(Jeremiah 11:20): 20 But Jehovah of armies is judging with righteousness;+ he is examining the kidneys* and the heart.+ O may I see your vengeance on them, for it is to you that I have revealed my case at law.+

(Acts 15:8): 8 and God, who knows the heart,+ bore witness by giving them the holy spirit,+ just as he did to us also.

(1 Kings 8:391 Chronicles 28:92 Chronicles 16:9Psalm 7:9Proverbs 24:12; Jeremiah 17:10)

v 25: apostleship: (John 6:70): 70 Jesus answered them: “I chose YOU twelve,+ did I not? Yet one of YOU is a slanderer.”*+

v 26: they cast lots: (Proverbs 16:33): (Proverbs 16:33): 33 Into the lap the lot is cast down,+ but every decision by it is from Jehovah.+

with the eleven+ apostles: (Matthew 28:16):  16 However, the eleven disciples went into Gal′i·lee+ to the mountain where Jesus had arranged for them,

+ by the lot / drawing lots: (Numbers 26:55; Joshua 18:10; Proverbs 18:18)

+

Compare:

The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 1

Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1

Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1 v23-26 Choice of Matthias

Dutch version/ Nederlandse versie: Verkiezing van Matthias

Afrikaans: Matti′as is gekies als een van “die twaalf

Deutsch: Da warfen sie Lose und das Los fiel auf Matthias

Français: Élection de Matthias

++

Please also do find:

+++

  • Commemoration of the Apostle Matthias, Martyred in Colchis, and Apostolic Succession (georgianorthodoxchurch.wordpress.com)
    there is evidence that the Apostle Matthias was martyred in Colchis  (the ancient name for Georgia’s Black Sea regions) and buried in Gonio, near Batumi.
    +
    The elevation of Matthias from the Seventy to the Twelve Apostles is interesting, as it is one of the first written accounts of Apostolic Succession
  • *Apostolic* (motivation1000.wordpress.com)
    Furthermore, for a person to profess to be a Christian (one who is like Christ) and do not obey God’s word in the bible is to make that person a hypocrite – hence, a hypocrites teachings is hypocrisy. In a narrower since, Doctrine is Teachings, and Teachings is Doctrine! Every movement has a doctrine, every religion has a doctrine, the Christian’s doctrine is the Holy Bible (God’s words passed on to His people by the Prophets and Apostles of the bible.
  • Acts 1 (sisterspray4me.com)
    23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen 25 as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.
  • Acts 14-15 (whatshotn.wordpress.com)
    When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
  • Wait Upon The Lord (rootstothestream.net)
    Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
    +
    Consider if there are any aspects of your life that may be best served with simply waiting on the direction of the Lord.
  • Intro to the Book of Acts and the choosing of Judas’ replacement (sundayschoolbiblestudy.wordpress.com)
    Luke gives us a brief introduction and then summarizes the 40 days after His death and resurrection when Jesus prepares the Apostles for ministry. He instructs them to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see The Holy Spirit and the Day of Pentecost).
  • Acts of the Apostles 4.32-5.11
    Thus far in the Acts of the Apostles the narrative has primarily been concerned with the formation of the Messianic community that would eventually become known as the Christian Church and the opposition to this community by the Jewish leaders and some of the Jewish people.
  • Acts 6:2-4…”So the Twelve gathered all the disciples
    New Testament model, and biblical clarity in the deacons’ role and function is invaluable for promoting peace and unity in our congregations.

  • It is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you
    Paul knew well the importance of God’s holy spirit when it comes to speaking the truth. He even entreated the congregation in Ephesus to make supplication for him that “ability to speak” might be given him. (Eph. 6:18-20)
  • The Greatness of the Apostle Paul / Die Größe des Apostels Paulus
    Among people critical of Christianity, the apostle Paul has a pretty bad press. Whilst quite a few of them recognize that Jesus had an exceptionally high ethic (at least for his time), Paul is generally regarded as a villain having sort of corrupted the message of his master.
    +Während nicht wenige von ihnen anerkennen, dass Jesus eine außenordentlich hohe Ethik (zumindest für seine Zeit) hatte, wird generell Paulus als einen Bösewicht angesehen, der irgendwie die Botschaft seines Meisters verdorben hat.

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