God’s Kingdom – What Can It Mean for You?

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Why Be Interested in God’s Kingdom?

 

Millions of people around the world rest their hope on God’s Kingdom. They follow the pattern set by Jesus, who taught his followers to pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth.”—Matthew 6:10, King James Version.

Ironically, while many people are keenly interested in God’s Kingdom, most religions seem to give little attention to it. In this regard, historian H. G. Wells noted how remarkable it is that Jesus gave “enormous prominence . . . to the teaching of what he called the Kingdom of Heaven” and yet, said Wells, this teaching has “comparative insignificance in the . . . teaching of most of the Christian churches.”

Unlike those churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses put great emphasis on God’s Kingdom. Consider: Our main journal, which you are now reading, is published in 220 languages. Nearly 46 million copies of each issue are printed, making it the most widely distributed magazine in the world. And what is this journal’s principal message? Notice its full title: The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. *

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses go to such great lengths to announce, or advertise, God’s Kingdom? For one thing, we believe that God’s Kingdom is the central message of the most important book in the world—the Bible. Moreover, we are convinced that God’s Kingdom is the only real solution to the problems facing humans today.

In directing attention to God’s Kingdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses are endeavoring to follow the example of Jesus. While on earth, he made God’s Kingdom the focal point of his life and ministry. (Luke 4:43) Why did the Kingdom mean so much to Jesus? And what can it mean for you?

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God’s Kingdom—What It Means to Jesus

 

During his earthly ministry, Jesus spoke about many subjects. For example, he taught his followers how to pray, how to please God, and how to find true happiness. (Matthew 6:5-13; Mark 12:17; Luke 11:28) But the subject that Jesus spoke about more than any other—the subject closest to his heart—was God’s Kingdom.—Luke 6:45.

As noted in the preceding article, Jesus centered his life on “preaching and declaring the good news of the Kingdom.” (Luke 8:1) He exerted himself, walking hundreds of miles throughout the land of Israel in order to teach people about God’s Kingdom. Jesus’ ministry was recorded in the four Gospels, which contain over 100 references to the Kingdom. Most of those references are found in the words of Jesus, and yet they must represent just a fraction of all that he said about God’s Kingdom!—John 21:25.

Why did the Kingdom mean so much to Jesus when he was on the earth? For one thing, Jesus knew that God had selected him to be its Ruler. (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 22:28-30) But Jesus was not focused on achieving power or glory for himself. (Matthew 11:29; Mark 10:17, 18) He promoted the Kingdom for reasons far beyond his own interests. Primarily, Jesus was and is interested in God’s Kingdom * because of what it will do for those whom he loves—his heavenly Father and his faithful followers.

WHAT THE KINGDOM WILL DO FOR JESUS’ FATHER

Jesus has deep affection for his heavenly Father. (Proverbs 8:30; John 14:31) He admires his Father’s endearing qualities, such as His love, His compassion, and His justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 49:15;1 John 4:8) Surely, then, Jesus must hate to hear the lies that are spread about his Father—lies such as that God is indifferent to human suffering and that God wants us to suffer. This is one reason why Jesus was eager to declare “the good news of the Kingdom”—he knew that in time the Kingdom would clear his Father’s reputation. (Matthew 4:23; 6:9, 10) How will it do so?

Through the Kingdom, Jehovah will take drastic, positive action in behalf of the human family. “He will wipe out every tear” from the eyes of faithful humans. Jehovah will eliminate the causes of those tears, seeing to it that “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.” (Revelation 21:3, 4) By means of the Kingdom, God will eliminate all human suffering. *

Little wonder that Jesus was eager to tell people about the Kingdom! He knew that it would reveal just how powerful and compassionate his Father really is. (James 5:11) Jesus also knew that the Kingdom would benefit others whom he loves—faithful humans.

WHAT THE KINGDOM WILL DO FOR FAITHFUL HUMANS

Long before he came to earth, Jesus lived in heaven with his Father. The Father used the Son to bring everything into existence—from the mind-boggling heavens with their countless stars and galaxies to our beautiful planet and the wildlife that inhabits it. (Colossians 1:15, 16) Out of it all, though, Jesus became “especially fond of” humankind.—Proverbs 8:31.

Love for humans characterized Jesus’ ministry. From the very start, he made it clear that he had come to earth to “declare good news” to those in need. (Luke 4:18) But Jesus did more than talk about helping people. Time and again, he demonstrated his love for humans. For example, when a large crowd gathered to hear him speak, Jesus “felt pity for them, and he cured their sick ones.” (Matthew 14:14) When a man with a grievous disease expressed faith that Jesus could heal him if he really wanted to, Jesus was moved by love. He healed the man, compassionately telling him: “I want to! Be made clean.” (Luke 5:12, 13) When Jesus saw his friend Mary mourning the death of her brother, Lazarus, Jesus “groaned within himself,” “became troubled,” and “gave way to tears.” (John 11:32-36) Then he did the unimaginable—Jesus brought Lazarus back to life although Lazarus had been dead for four days!—John 11:38-44.

Jesus, of course, knew that the relief he offered then was only temporary. He realized that sooner or later, all whom he healed would get sick again and all whom he resurrected would die again. However, Jesus also knew that God’s Kingdom would bring a permanent end to such problems. That is why Jesus did not just perform miracles; he also zealously declared “the good news of the Kingdom.” (Matthew 9:35) His miracles demonstrated on a small scale what God’s Kingdom will soon do earth wide. Consider what the Bible promises regarding that time.

No more health problems.

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“At that time the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. At that time the lame will leap like the deer, and the tongue of the speechless will shout for joy.” Additionally, “no resident will say: ‘I am sick.’”—Isaiah 33:24; 35:5, 6.

 No more death.

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“The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.”—Psalm 37:29.

“He will swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8.

Those who have died will return to life. 

“All those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.”—John 5:28, 29.

“There is going to be a resurrection.”—Acts 24:15.

 

No more homelessness or unemployment.

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“They will build houses and live in them, and they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build for someone else to inhabit, nor will they plant for others to eat. . . . The work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full.”—Isaiah 65:21, 22.

No more war.

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“He is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth.”—Psalm 46:9.

“Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war anymore.”—Isaiah 2:4.

 No more food shortages. 

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“The earth will give its produce; God, our God, will bless us.”—Psalm 67:6.

“There will be an abundance of grain on the earth; on the top of the mountains it will overflow.”—Psalm 72:16.

No more poverty. 

“The poor will not always be forgotten.”—Psalm 9:18.

“He will rescue the poor who cry for help, also the lowly one and whoever has no helper. He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, and the lives of the poor he will save.”—Psalm 72:12, 13.

When you consider those promises regarding God’s Kingdom, can you see why the Kingdom means so much to Jesus? While on earth, he was eager to talk about God’s Kingdom to anyone who would listen, for he knew that the Kingdom would bring an end to all the distressing problems we see today.

Do the Bible’s promises regarding the Kingdom appeal to you? If so, how can you learn more about that Kingdom? And what can you do to make sure that you will benefit from its blessings?

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God’s Kingdom—What Will It Mean for You?

 

You likely gathered from the preceding articles that God’s Kingdom means a lot to Jehovah’s Witnesses. And perhaps you were intrigued by some of the future blessings of God’s Kingdom that were discussed. At the same time, you may wonder if such promises are too good to be true.

You are wise to be cautious instead of believing everything you hear. (Proverbs 14:15) In some ways, your caution could be compared to that of the ancient Beroeans. * When they were first told about the good news of the Kingdom, the Beroeans accepted what they heard, but not simply because they wanted it to be true. Rather, they carefully examined the Scriptures “to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) In other words, the Beroeans compared the good news that they heard with what the Scriptures say. In time, they became convinced that the good news was in fact solidly based on God’s Word.

Jehovah’s Witnesses warmly invite you to do the same. By means of our free Bible study program, we offer you the opportunity to compare what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about God’s Kingdom with what the Bible teaches.

In addition to your learning about God’s Kingdom, your study of the Bible can help you to find answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

Above all, studying the Bible will help you to “draw close to God.” (James 4:8) In turn, the closer you draw to God, the more you will see how God’s Kingdom can mean good things for you—not just now but forever. Jesus himself said in prayer to his Father: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3.

This article is taken from http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20141001/interested-in-gods-kingdom/

Would you welcome more information? Please leave your message at the comment box below. Or would you welcome a visit and free home Bible study? Click Here to Request a FREE Bible Study

Where Can We Find Answers to Life’s Big Questions?

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Where Can We Find Answers to Life’s Big Questions?

Are the answers in . . .

  • science?

  • philosophy?

  • the Bible?

 A BIBLE WRITER SAID TO GOD

“Give me understanding . . . Your word is truth.”—Psalm 119:144, 160New World Translation.

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The Bible is providing answers for millions of people.

Would you like to be one of them?

The jw.org Web site can help you.

 

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WHICH OF THESE BIG QUESTIONS CONCERNS YOU MOST?

Find the Bible’s answers to these questions at jw.org.

(Go to BIBLE TEACHINGS › BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED)

LEARN MORE

What Can Be Found on Our Web Site?

 

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This article is taken from http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/jworg-tract/the-big-questions/

Would you welcome more information? Please leave your message at the comment box below. Or would you welcome a visit and free home Bible study? Click Here to Request a FREE Bible Study

Why Study the Bible?

The Bible is providing answers to life’s big questions for millions of people around the world. Would you like to be one of them?

Why Study the Bible? Watch the video below:

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Click here to watch the video

What Is a Bible Study?

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Jehovah’s Witnesses offer a Bible study program that answers many questions, including:

  • Who is God?

  • Does God really care about me?

  • How can I improve my marriage?

  • How can I find happiness in life?

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about our Bible study program.

What is the format of the study course? We take such topics as “God” or “marriage” and examine different Bible verses that relate to the subject. By comparing them, we see what the Bible as a whole says about the topic, and in this way we let the Bible interpret itself.

To assist us in studying the Bible, we use the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? This book clearly presents, among other subjects, what the Bible really says about God, Jesus, and our future.

How much does a Bible study cost? The study is free, and there is no charge for the study material.

How long are the study sessions? Many people set aside an hour or so each week to study the Bible with us. But the length of the study is flexible. We’ll adapt it to your schedule.

What happens when I request a Bible study? When you request a Bible study, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses will visit you at a time and place convenient for you. He or she will take a few minutes to demonstrate our study program. If you like it, you can continue.

If I accept a Bible study, do I have to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? No. Jehovah’s Witnesses love teaching people about the Bible, but we never force anyone to become a member of our religion. Rather, we respectfully present what the Bible says, recognizing that each person has the right to choose what he or she will believe.—1 Peter 3:15.

Explore our site, http://jw.org. Learn more about us and our beliefs.

Read the Bible online. 

Would you welcome more information? Please leave your message at the comment box below. Or would you welcome a visit and free home Bible study? Click Here to Request a FREE Bible Study

Should You Pray?

If God already knows what we need, do we really need to pray? The Bible answers this question.

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Why Do People Pray?

Is prayer part of your life? It is for many people, even some atheists. But why do people pray? According to a poll in France, half of French citizens pray or meditate at times “simply to feel better.” Like many Europeans, they do not pray in a religious sense. Rather, they seek “the soothing effects of prayer.” On the other hand, some believers turn to God only when they are in need, expecting immediate answers to their requests.—Isaiah 26:16.

What about you personally? Do you think that prayer is just a way to sort out your thoughts? If you believe in God, do you see the effects of prayer in your life? Or does it seem to you that your prayers go unanswered? The Bible can help you to view prayer, not as a feel-good therapy, but as a precious means to draw close to God.

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‘If God knows everything, including my thoughts and needs, why should I pray?’ you might ask. That is a valid question. Did not Jesus say that God “knows what you need even before you ask him”? (Matthew 6:8) King David of ancient Israel realized this, and he wrote: “There is not a word on my tongue, but look! O Jehovah, you already know it well.” (Psalm 139:4) Why, then, should we turn to God in prayer? To answer that, let us consider what the Bible says about the prayers of God’s worshippers. *

“Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”James 4:8

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PRAYER DRAWS US CLOSE TO GOD

Although the Bible says that Jehovah * God knows everything, it also shows that he is not interested in merely collecting facts about his worshippers. (Psalm 139:6; Romans 11:33) His limitless memory is not like that of a computer that impersonally stores data about individuals. In fact, God is keenly interested in our innermost thoughts because he wants us to draw closer to him. (Psalm 139:23, 24; James 4:8) That is why Jesus encouraged his followers to pray, even though his Father well knows our basic needs. (Matthew 6:6-8) The more we share our thoughts with our Creator, the more we will draw close to him.

At times, we may find it difficult to know precisely what to ask for in prayer. In such cases, God can even look beyond our unexpressed feelings and use his perfect knowledge of our circumstances to respond to our needs. (Romans 8:26, 27; Ephesians 3:20) When we realize that God has intervened in our personal life, even in very subtle ways, we feel drawn to him.

DOES GOD ANSWER ALL PRAYERS?

The Bible assures us that Almighty God answers the prayers of his faithful servants, but it also gives reasons why he does not listen to some prayers. For example, at a time when violence was rampant in ancient Israel, God directed his prophet Isaiah to tell the people: “Although you offer many prayers, I am not listening; your hands are filled with blood.” (Isaiah 1:15) Clearly, those who show contempt for God’s laws or pray with improper motives cannot expect to be heard by God.—Proverbs 28:9; James 4:3.

On the other hand, the Bible states: “No matter what we ask according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) Does that mean, though, that God will automatically grant his worshippers every request? Not necessarily. Consider the case of the apostle Paul, who begged God three times to remove “a thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 8) It may be that Paul suffered from a chronic eye affliction. How frustrating that must have been for him! Paul had been given the gift of healing and had even performed a resurrection, yet he had to endure his own illness. (Acts 19:11, 12; 20:9, 10) Even though the answer to his petitions did not take the form he wanted, Paul accepted God’s response with gratitude.—2 Corinthians 12:9, 10.

“This is the confidence that we have toward him, that no matter what we ask according to his will, he hears us.”1 John 5:14

True, some Bible characters did receive miraculous answers to their prayers. (2 Kings 20:1-7) But such answers were hardly the norm, even in Bible times. Some believers were disturbed when it seemed that God had not responded to their prayers. King David asked: “How long, O Jehovah, will you forget me? Forever?” (Psalm 13:1) But when that faithful man realized how often Jehovah had come to his rescue, David reaffirmed his trust in God. In the same prayer, David added: “As for me, I trust in your loyal love.” (Psalm 13:5) Just like David, God’s worshippers today may have to persevere in prayer until they perceive God’s response to their petitions.—Romans 12:12.

HOW GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS

God responds to our genuine needs.

For good reason, caring parents do not always give their children whatthey ask for when they ask for it. In like manner, God may not respond to our requests in the way we think he should or at the moment we expect. But we can be confident that our Creator, like a loving father, will respond to our genuine needs at the right time and in the right way.—Luke 11:11-13.

God may answer in subtle ways.

God’s answer to a plea for help may come through the pages of the Bible

God’s answer to a plea for help may come through the pages of the Bible

What, though, if we pray to find relief from an ongoing problem? Should we conclude that because there is no miraculous answer, Jehovah has not answered at all? On the contrary, we would do well to consider whether God has supported us in more subtle ways. For example, perhaps a caring friend did what he could to help us at just the right time. (Proverbs 17:17) Is it possible that Jehovah moved that concerned friend to reach out to us? In addition, God’s answer to a plea for help may come through the pages of the Bible. In it we may find the insight needed to cope with a challenging situation.—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.

God may use caring friends to help us at just the right time

God may use caring friends to help us at just the right time

Instead of removing a personal problem, God often gives his people the strength needed to cope with it. (2 Corinthians 4:7) For example, when Jesus begged his Father to remove an ordeal, fearing that it would bring reproach on God’s name, Jehovah dispatched an angel to strengthen his Son. (Luke 22:42, 43) Similarly, God may use a close friend to give us a word of encouragement when we need it most. (Proverbs 12:25) Because this kind of answer is subtle, we may have to be more alert to the way God responds to our prayers.

Some answers must await God’s timetable.

The Bible says that Almighty God shows favor to humble individuals “in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6) So if there seems to be a delay in his answering our sincere requests, we need not see this as a lack of interest on Jehovah’s part. Rather, with his vastly superior perspective, our caring Creator no doubt evaluates our petitions in the light of what he knows is best for us.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time.”1 Peter 5:6

To illustrate: Imagine that you have a young son who asks you for a bicycle. Will you automatically grant his request? If you feel that he is not yet responsible enough to ride a bicycle, you might decide to postpone the purchase. In time, however, you may grant his request when you know that doing so would be in his best interests. In like manner, God may grant the proper “desires of [our] heart” in due time if we keep praying.—Psalm 37:4.

BE CONFIDENT THAT JEHOVAH LISTENS

The Bible urges true Christians not to lose confidence in the value of prayer. ‘That is easier said than done,’ some might say. True, if we have been enduring a nagging problem or some sort of injustice, we may find it hard to wait for God’s answer. We do well, though, to remember what Jesus taught about persistence in prayer.

Jesus gave the illustration of a needy widow who kept going to an unfair judge to obtain justice.  (Luke 18:1-3) Although the judge at first refused to help her, he finally said to himself: “I will see that she gets justice so that she will not keep coming and wearing me out with her demand.” (Luke 18:4, 5) According to the text in the original language, the judge paid attention to the widow so that she would not “strike [him] under the eye,” or figuratively, “damage [his] reputation.” * If even an unjust judge, out of fear for his reputation, will help a poor widow, how much more so will our caring God grant justice to those “who cry out to him day and night”! As Jesus said, God “will cause justice to be done to them speedily.”—Luke 18:6-8.

“Keep on asking, and it will be given you.”Luke 11:9

Though we may at times get weary of asking for help or favor, we should not give up. By persevering in prayer, we show the genuineness of our desire to see God’s hand in our life. We also learn to recognize God’s answers to our petitions and, as a result, draw closer to him. Yes, we can be confident that Jehovah will answer our proper prayers if we keep asking in faith.—Luke 11:9.

Article taken from Watchtower April 2014

More articles can be read at www.jw.org

Would you welcome more information? Please leave your message at the comment box below. Or would you welcome a visit and free home Bible study? Click Here to Request a FREE Bible Study

Help From ‘the God of Comfort’

KING DAVID was a man who experienced much anguish and many “disquieting thoughts.” Yet, he never doubted that the Creator understands us in every way. “O Jehovah, you have searched through me, and you know me,” he wrote. “You yourself have come to know my sitting down and my rising up. You have considered my thought from far off. For there is not a word on my tongue, but, look! O Jehovah, you already know it all.”—Psalm 139:1, 2, 4, 23.

We too can be certain that our Creator understands us and the debilitating effect that depression can have on our imperfect minds and bodies. He knows what causes depression and how we can best cope under present circumstances. Furthermore, he has revealed how he will cure depression forever. We could wish for no one better to help us than our compassionate “God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed.”—2 Corinthians 7:6, The Amplified Bible.

But depressed ones may wonder how God can help them when they experience distressing emotions.

Is God accessible to the depressed?

God is so close to his depressed servants that it is as if he resided with the “crushed and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly ones and to revive the heart of the ones being crushed.” (Isaiah 57:15) How comforting to know that “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves”!—Psalm 34:18.

How can the depressed get comfort from God?

At any time of the day, God’s worshipers have approach to the “Hearer of prayer,” who can help us to cope with distressing feelings and circumstances. (Psalm 65:2) The Bible urges us to pour out our hearts to him: “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.

What if feelings of unworthiness make us think that our prayers are not being heard?

Depression may cause us to conclude that our attempts to please God are not adequate. However, our heavenly Father is sensitive to our fragile emotions, “remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) Even if “our hearts may condemn us,” we can “persuade our hearts” that “God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” (1 John 3:19, 20, footnote) Therefore, you can use expressions in your prayers that you glean from such Bible passages as Psalm 9:9, 10; 10:12, 14, 17; and 25:17.

What if we are too distraught to put our feelings into words?

 When painful emotions are so overwhelming that rational speech is difficult, do not give up! Keep approaching “the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort,” knowing that he understands your feelings and needs. (2 Corinthians 1:3) Maria, mentioned earlier in this series, says: “At times, when I feel very confused, I do not know what to pray about. But I know that God understands and helps me.”

How does God answer our prayers?

The Bible does not suggest that God removes all our difficulties now. However, God does impart the strength to cope with “all  things”—including depression. (Philippians 4:13) “When I first suffered from depression,” admits Martina, “I prayed for Jehovah to heal me immediately because I thought I would not be able to bear it any longer. Now I am content to pray for strength each day.”

The Scriptures are a vital source of spiritual strength to help afflicted individuals to cope with depression. Sarah, who has battled depression for 35 years, personally experienced the practical value of daily Bible reading. She relates: “I truly appreciate what the medical profession has done for me. Above all, though, I realize the spiritual and practical value of reading God’s Word. I have made a habit of reading it.”

No More Depression—Ever!

When Jesus Christ was on earth, he demonstrated his God-given power to cure painful maladies. Jesus was eager to bring relief to people who suffered from grievous sicknesses. Moreover, he himself knows the agony of distraught emotions. On the night before he was to die a painful death, “Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears.” (Hebrews 5:7) As distressing as that was to Jesus at the time, we benefit now because “he is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test.”—Hebrews 2:18; 1 John 2:1, 2.

The Bible reveals that God purposes to remove all the distressing conditions that contribute to depression. He promises: “I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating.” (Isaiah 65:17, 18) The “new heavens,” God’s Kingdom, will restore the “new earth,” a society of righteous people on earth, to perfect physical, emotional, and spiritual health. All sicknesses will be wiped out permanently.

“I have called out your name, O Jehovah, from a pit of the lowest sort. My voice you must hear. Do not hide your ear to my relief, to my cry for help. You have drawn near in the day that I kept calling you. You said: ‘Do not be afraid.’”—Lamentations 3:55-57

Consolation From the Scriptures

Lorraine is strengthened by Jehovah’s promise found at Isaiah 41:10: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.”

Álvaro says that the words of Psalm 34:4, 6 often console him: “I inquired of Jehovah, and he answered me, and out of all my frights he delivered me. This afflicted one called, and Jehovah himself heard. And out of all his distresses He saved him.”

Naoya says that reading Psalm 40:1, 2 always comforts him: “I earnestly hoped in Jehovah, and so he inclined his ear to me and heard my cry for help. . . . He firmly established my steps.”

Psalm 147:3 reassures Naoko that Jehovah “is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.”

Jesus’ words recorded at Luke 12:6, 7 help Eliz trust in Jehovah’s care: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God. But even the hairs of your heads are all numbered. Have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Other Bible verses:

  • Psalm 39:12: “Do hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and to my cry for help do give ear. At my tears do not keep silent.”
  • 2 Corinthians 7:6: God “comforts the depressed.”“New American Standard Bible.”
  • 1 Peter 5:7: “Throw all your anxiety upon [God], because he cares for you.”

Article taken from Awake 2009-07

More articles can be read at www.jw.org

Would you welcome more information? Please leave your message at the comment box below. Or would you welcome a visit and free home Bible study? Please send your request to Jehovah’s Witnesses, using one of the addresses below. For a complete list of addresses, see http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/offices/

America, United States of: 25 Columbia Heights Brooklyn, NY 11201-2483

Australia: PO Box 280, Ingleburn, NSW 1890

Britain: The Ridgeway, London NW7 1RN

Canada: PO Box 4100, Georgetown, ON L7G 4Y4

Germany: 65617 Setlers

Guam: 143 Jehovah St., Barrigada, GU 96913

Jamaica: PO Box 103, Old Harbour, St. Catherine

Japan: 4-7-1 Nakashinden, Ebina City, Kanagawa-Pref, 243-0496

Philippines: PO Box 2044, 1060 Manila

Puerto Rico: PO Box 3980, Guaynabo, PR 00970

South Africa: Private Bag X2067, Krugersdorp, 1740

Trinidad and Tobago: Lower Rapsey Street & Laxmi Lane, Curepe

What if I’m Being Bullied?

Bullying is no trivial matter. A British study found that more than 40 percent of the youth suicides reported in the national media appeared to involve bullying as a contributing factor.

What is bullying?

Bullying includes more than physical assaults. It can also involve the following.

  • Verbal attacks. Girls can be brutal with their words,” says 20-year-old Celine. “I’ll never forget the names they called me or the things they said. They made me feel worthless, unwanted, and good-for-nothing. I’d rather have been given a black eye.

  •  Social isolation. My schoolmates started to avoid me,” says 18-year-old Haley. “They would make it seem that there was no room at the lunch table so I couldn’t sit with them. For the whole year, I cried and ate alone.

  •  Cyberbullying. With just a few keystrokes on a computer,” says 14-year-old Daniel, “you can ruin someone’s reputation—or even his life. It sounds like an overstatement, but it can happen!” Cyberbullying also includes sending harmful photos or text messages using a cell phone.

 Why do people bully others?

These are some common reasons.

  •  They themselves have been bullied. I was so sick and tired of being mistreated by my peers that I began to bully others just to fit in,” admits a young man named Antonio. “Later I looked back and realized how wrong it was to do that!

  •  They have poor role models. Many times young bullies treat other people . . . the way they see their parents, older brothers and sisters, or other family members treat others,” writes Jay McGraw in his book Life Strategies for Dealing With Bullies.

  •  They act as if they are superior—and yet they’re insecure. Kids who bully have an air of superiority that is often a mask to cover up deep hurt and a feeling of inadequacy,” notes Barbara Coloroso in her book The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander.

 Who is most likely to be a target?

  • Loners. Some young people who lack social skills isolate themselves from others and become easy marks for bullies.

  • Youths who are perceived as being different. Some youths are targeted by bullies because of their appearance, race, or religion or even because they have a disability—anything the bully can pick on.

  • Youths who lack self-confidence. Bullies can detect those who think negatively of themselves. These are often the easiest targets, since they’re not likely to fight back.

 What can you do if you’re bullied?

  • Don’t react. Bullies want to know that they’ve succeeded in making you feel bad about yourself,” says a young woman named Kylie. “If you don’t react, they lose interest.” The Bible says: “He that is wise keeps it calm to the last.”—Proverbs 29:11.

  •  Don’t retaliate. Revenge will add to the problem, not solve it. The Bible says: “Return evil for evil to no one.”—Romans 12:17; Proverbs 24:19.

  • Don’t walk into trouble. To the extent possible, avoid people and situations where bullying may occur.—Proverbs 22:3.

  • Try an unexpected response. The Bible says: “An answer, when mild, turns away rage.”—Proverbs 15:1.

  • Use humor. For example, if a bully asserts that you’re overweight, you could simply shrug your shoulders and say, “I guess I could lose a few pounds!

  • Walk away. Silence shows that you are mature and that you are stronger than the person harassing you,” says 19-year-old Nora. “It demonstrates self-control—something the bully doesn’t have.

  •  Work on your self-confidence. Bullies notice when you aren’t relaxed,” says a girl named Rita, “and they might use that to destroy whatever self-confidence you have.

  •  Tell someone. According to one survey, more than half of all victims who are bullied online don’t report what’s going on, possibly because of shame (especially for boys) or fear of retaliation. But remember, bullies thrive on secrecy. Speaking up can be the first step to ending the nightmare.

Tips from your peers

“Avoid places or situations that will make you an easy target for a bully. Remember, too, that bullies are going through their own issues. When you know that, it takes some of the sting out of their words.”—Antonio.

“Be confident in yourself. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe. Many bullies back off when they see that you aren’t giving them any power over you and that you aren’t afraid.”—Jessica.

SHOULD YOU FEAR THE END OF THE WORLD?

The End of the World—Fear, Fascination, and Frustration

How do you feel about December 21, 2012, the date on the Mayan calendar that many have been saying would bring worldwide change? Depending on what you expected, you might be relieved, disappointed, or indifferent. Was it just another incorrect prediction for the end of the world?

What about “the end of the world” described in the Bible? (Matthew 24:3, King James Version) Some fear that the earth will be burned up. Others are fascinated by end-time scenarios. Many have simply grown tired of being told that the end is near. But could those be reactions to fiction rather than to fact?

You might be surprised to learn what the Bible really says about the end of the world. Not only does the Bible give reasons to look forward to the end but it also acknowledges the frustration that can set in if the end seems to be overdue. We invite you to consider the Bible’s answers to some common questions about the end of the world.

Will the earth be burned up?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: “[God] has founded the earth upon its established places; it will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.”—PSALM 104:5.

The earth will not be destroyed, either by fire or by any other means. Instead, the Bible teaches that this planet is mankind’s eternal home. Psalm 37:29 says: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 115:16; Isaiah 45:18.

After God created the earth, he said that it “was very good,” and he still feels that way. (Genesis 1:31) Far from planning to destroy it, he promises to “bring to ruin those ruining the earth”—and to protect it from permanent damage.—Revelation 11:18.

You may wonder, though, about 2 Peter 3:7. That Bible verse says: “The heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire.” Does this not show that the earth will be burned up? Actually, the Bible sometimes uses the terms “heavens,” “earth,” and “fire” figuratively, as symbols. For example, when Genesis 11:1 says: “All the earth continued to be of one language,” it uses “earth” to mean human society.

The context of 2 Peter 3:7 shows that the heavens, earth, and fire mentioned there are also symbols. Verses 5 and 6 draw a parallel with the Flood of Noah’s day. On that occasion, an ancient world was destroyed, yet our planet did not disappear. Instead, the Flood wiped out a violent society, or “earth.” It also destroyed a kind of “heavens”—the people who ruled over that earthly society. (Genesis 6:11) In the same way, 2 Peter 3:7 foretells the permanent destruction of wicked society and its corrupt governments as if by fire.

What happens at the end of the world?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 JOHN 2:17.

“The world” that is to pass away is, not the earth, but the world of mankind whose lives are not in harmony with God’s will. Just as a surgeon might remove a cancerous tumor to save a patient’s life, God will “cut off” the wicked so that good people can truly enjoy life on earth. (Psalm 37:9) In that sense, “the end of the world” is a good thing.

Such a positive view of “the end of the world” is implied by the Bible translations that render this expression “the conclusion of the system of things” or “the end of the age.” (Matthew 24:3; New International Version) Since both humankind and the earth survive the end, does it not seem reasonable that a new age, a new system of things, would follow? The Bible answers yes, for it speaks of “the coming system of things.”—Luke 18:30.

Jesus called that future period “the renewal of all things.” At that time, he will restore humanity to the conditions that God originally intended. (Matthew 19:28, NIV) We will then enjoy

  • A paradise earth with security and prosperity for all.—Isaiah 35:1; Micah 4:4.
  • Work that is meaningful and satisfying.—Isaiah 65:21-23.
  • The curing of all disease.—Isaiah 33:24.
  • The reversal of aging.—Job 33:25.
  • The resurrection of the dead.—John 5:28, 29.
  • If we do “the will of God,” what he asks of us, we need not fear the end of the world. Instead, we can look forward to it.

Is the end of the world really near?

THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: “When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near.”—LUKE 21:31.

In the book The Last Days Are Here Again, Professor Richard Kyle writes that “sudden change and social chaos create an atmosphere conducive to predictions of the end of the world.” That is especially the case when the change and chaos seem hard to explain.

However, the Bible prophets who spoke about the end were not trying to explain baffling events of their day. Instead, they were inspired by God to describe conditions that would indicate an imminent end of the world. Consider some of those prophecies and decide for yourself whether they are being fulfilled in our time.

As Jesus said, seeing “all these things” lets us know that the end of the world is near. (Matthew 24:33) Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the evidence is convincing, and they share their faith with others by preaching in 236 lands.

Do mistaken expectations about the end mean that it will never come?
THE BIBLE’S ANSWER: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.”—1 THESSALONIANS 5:3.

The Bible likens the world’s destruction to the onset of labor—the mother’s pain is inevitable and comes suddenly. The time leading up to the end is also like a pregnancy, for an expectant mother is aware of ever-increasing signs of the coming birth. Her doctor might estimate the birth date; yet, even if the event should delay, she would still be sure that her baby will soon be born. Similarly, any mistaken expectations about the end do not alter the unmistakable features identifying these as “the last days.”—2 Timothy 3:1.

‘If the sign that we are near the end is so obvious,’ you might ask, ‘why do so many people fail to recognize it?’ The Bible shows that when the end is near, many will belittle the evidence. Rather than acknowledge the fundamental changes during the last days, they would scoff: “From the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.” (2 Peter 3:3, 4) In other words, the sign of the last days is clear, but many will ignore it.—Matthew 24:38, 39.

This article has considered just some of the Scriptural evidence that the end is near. * Would you like to learn more? If so, why not contact Jehovah’s Witnesses to accept their offer of a free Bible study? Study sessions can be held in your home, at another place convenient to you, or even over the phone or Internet. The only cost is your time, and the potential benefits are priceless.

HAVE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES GIVEN INCORRECT DATES FOR THE END?

Jehovah’s Witnesses have had wrong expectations about when the end would come. Like Jesus’ first-century disciples, we have sometimes looked forward to the fulfillment of prophecy ahead of God’s timetable. (Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) We agree with the sentiment of longtime Witness A. H. Macmillan, who said: “I learned that we should admit our mistakes and continue searching God’s Word for more enlightenment.”

Why, then, do we continue to highlight the nearness of the end? Because we take seriously Jesus’ words: “Keep looking, keep awake.” The alternative, to be found “sleeping” by Jesus, would prevent us from gaining his favor. (Mark 13:33, 36) Why?

Consider this example: A lookout in a fire tower might see what he thinks is a wisp of smoke on the horizon and sound what proves to be a false alarm. Later, though, his alertness could save lives.

Likewise, we have had some wrong expectations about the end. But we are more concerned with obeying Jesus and saving lives than with avoiding criticism. Jesus’ command to “give a thorough witness” compels us to warn others about the end.—Acts 10:42.

We believe that even more important than focusing on when the end will come, we must be confident that it will come, and we must act accordingly. We take seriously the words of Habakkuk 2:3, which says: “Even if [the end] should delay [compared to what you thought], keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.”

Article taken from The Watchtower January 2013

More articles can be read at www.jw.org

Would you welcome more information? Please leave your message at the comment box below. Or would you welcome a visit and free home Bible study? Please send your request to Jehovah’s Witnesses, using one of the addresses below. For a complete list of addresses, see http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/offices/

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